17th September, 2019
Injury has kept him off the pitch for some weeks now. The fans have missed his dribbling skills and of course, goals. The team itself has missed his crucial leadership role and inspiration. But now the man is back for real. Yes, Barca talisman, Lionel Messi is back fully fit to make defenders uncomfortable once more.
And what a time to come back. Just as Barcelona is gradually creeping out of some unpleasant period ranging from the Neymar saga to other disturbing news that have been crucially punctuated by the timely arrival in the team of a promising young player who goes by the name Ansu Fati, things could not have gotten better with the return of the G.O.A.T. himself to the squad.
Add to that the fact that Barcelona is preparing to play its first match of this season’s European Champions League against no other team but one of the very best in the continent, Borussia Dortmund in Germany, and you will know why this return of “Merciless” Messi is very timely and crucial.
Talking about the Champions League itself, it is no gainsaying that it is the very best club competition in the world.
It is also note worthy to mention the fact that it has been four years since Barcelona last won it. It is also a fact that the way Barcelona were eliminated the last two have been especially hard to take.
There is hardly a better way to test how good Barcelona can be after an inconsistent start to the season than to play against a team like Borussia Dortmund away.
It is a fact that the Black and Yellow are one of the best teams in Europe and have a monster attack led by the skills and assists of Jadon Sancho, the calm leadership and decisive touches of Marco Reus, plus the unstoppable hunger for goal of Paco Alcácer, who faces his former team on the best form of his career and is ready for revenge.
The availability of Lionel Messi for his season debut in this type of match is crucial, but relying on the captain in his first match after a six-week injury is not the best strategy.
There is need for all departments of the team to carry out their own work: the defense has to be solid for the first time this season, Sergio Busquets, Frenkie De Jong and Arthur must dominate midfield and feed the attack, and Antoine Griezmann was brought in from Atletico precisely for this type of games.
Then of course there is Ansu Fati.
The 16-year-old continues to shine with every opportunity, and he might start his first Champions League match ever against the famous Yellow Wall with everyone watching to see what he can do under European pressure.
If he shines again, then the sky is the limit for one of the most exciting young players this club has produced.