Ahead of tomorrow’s Champions League final in Berlin, Barcelona’s front three of Messi, Neymar and Suarez are the arguably the most talked about topic of the upcoming game. We could try to take an alternative angle and write about other parts of the team, but unfortunately, there is currently no way past these three. Barcelona’s incredibly lethal combination have scored an impressive 25 Champions League goals together and it seems like they are yearning for more. In La Liga, Messi and his talented friends have managed to score a combined 81 goals, which is more than 18 out of 20 La Liga teams have managed to score as a whole. In terms of attacking talent, one cannot really expect more from a forward line-up.
At the other end, Barcelona have only conceded 21 goals in 38 La Liga games and the defence played a significant part in matching the highest-ever goal difference of +89. This is also testament to Luis Enrique’s balanced style of play that seeks a quick transition from defence to attack and vice versa. In fact, it seems that the Blaugrana have matured under Enrique’s guidance and this became particularly evident during the second part of the season, when it seemed as though, the players had finally taken to the manager’s philosophy.
With the exception of a group-stage game against PSG, Barcelona looked in control of most games in the Champions League, although parts of the first round were marred by sensationalist speculation of unrest in the squad under Enrique’s management. It was argued that Messi in particular was not to keen on the Spaniard’s management style nor on his own role in the team. However, Messi ended up answering critics on the pitch and turned on the heat by producing mind-blowing performances across the second half of the season. So much so, that one could almost argue that this is the best Messi we have ever seen.
Overall, this has been a season of growth for the whole team. Whereas, Luis Enrique was not able to hit the ground running from day one, the team managed to grow closer and started producing performances of world class standard. As such, the Barcelona team of 2015 might be the most unpredictable and hardest to beat yet. This is no longer a side that is exclusively focused on ball retention, but is ultimately keen to find the net as quickly as possible. Therefore, the addition of Luis Suarez helped in achieving quick transitions and releasing the attacking talent of both Messi and Neymar.
The Blaugrana go into Saturday’s final as clear favourites and it is very hard to see past them. Just like Juventus, Barcelona will be going for a treble after securing the league and Copa del Rey titles recently. It will be intriguing to watch the world’s strongest attack face-off against one of the most disciplined defences in Europe. Whatever the outcome might be, viewers are in for a great treat and if Magic Messi turns up on Saturday, it will almost be impossible to stop the Argentine legend.