Barcelona played a game of two halves at the Santiago Bernabeu (real Madrid’s home). There were reasons for optimism in the first half and pessimism in the second half, but one of the conclusions shared among the club’s hierarchy was that Lionel Messi was too alone, claims Diario Sport.
The consequences of that reading is that Barça are obliged to work intensely to arm Messi with a competitive team so that he can enjoy his final years at the club.
The challenge is clear: not to repeat the mistakes of previous seasons and sign players that end up on the bench or in a secondary role.
Barça already know what they want: at least two defenders and two forwards, one capable of playing wide and the other a No.9 that can rotate with Luis Suarez and become his long-term replacement. Depending on the market, they’re also open to signing a midfielder.
The club know the squad needs renewing and the objective is to surround Messi with a team capable of fighting on all three fronts next season.
In defence, they will look for a centre-back (Setien only has three at the moment. Pique, Lenglet and Umtiti) as well as a right-back to finally solve the problems generated since Dani Alves left in 2016.
The wide player has a very defined profile: that’s where Neymar comes into it, one of the players who has best linked with Messi in recent years.
The Brazilian was the big target last summer, but his signing proved impossible, despite various heavyweights in the dressing room expressing their favour for him to return.
Finally, the club also know it’s essential to sign the right striker as they look to replace, in the long-term, one of the club’s greatest ever goalscorers in Luis Suarez.
It will not be an easy or quick summer but the club know they have little room for error. They must build a competitive side.