Better template, much more demanding

When the vice-president Rafael Yuste and the director of football, Mateu Alemany, appeared in November in Doha to close the arrival of Xavi Hernández they told the coach of Terrassa that their mission was to qualify Barcelona for the Champions League of the 2022-23 season. A minimum target. And although there were moments when the team, strengthened in the winter market, dreamed of aspiring to something bigger – especially after the 0-4 at the Bernabeu –, in the end they ended up having to fight to secure second place , the millions to participate in the Super Cup and the Champions League. The blow had slowed. The disaster had been saved by the small mouth.

Two and a half months later, everything looks different at Camp Nou, now renamed Spotify Camp Nou. The workforce has made a qualitative and quantitative leap. The dressing room once again has world stars, we have found players in their prime who are hungry, all the lines of the field have been improved and the board has doubled the positions. Barça now seems ready to discuss face-to-face with Real Madrid.

All lines improved

The dressing room has world stars again, the reinforcements arrive with hunger and they have the wood of a leader

Nothing remains of the resignation with which the season ended. Everything has turned into illusion. Expectations have skyrocketed. The obligations, as it could not be otherwise, also after spending 153 million fixed, not counting variables. Investment carries with it an inherent responsibility. On the outside, there is no doubt that the message of dreaming of the best has sunk into the fans.

More than 50,000 people were at the presentation of Robert Lewandowski. 83,000 fans enjoyed at the Joan Gamper trophy the first goal in a friendly from the Polish striker, who gave away another from the heel, a double from Pedri (he was only able to play 12 matches last season), the first assist from Raphinha and a target from Dembélé, who was out of contract for 14 days before re-signing with Barcelona. Culers are closer than ever to enjoying themselves again, a verb that has barely been conjugated in the recent era with so much debacle heard in the fields of Europe.

The responsibility

The technician from Terrassa is no longer asked to refloat the ship, or return it to the proper orbit, but must reach hypervelocity as soon as possible

Barcelona has experienced great periods of scarcity throughout history. He won only one League between 1960 and 1984 and did not lift the first European Cup until 1992. However, everything changed, after leaving behind the Gaspart stage, in the 21st century, where the Blaugrana went touching the top of the spherical world several times, with Rijkaard, Guardiola and Luis Enrique. After that era of brilliance, three years without winning a major title (only the 2021 Cup) is a lot. And more with a Joan Laporta who, on his second arrival at the club, proclaimed: "With me, losing will have consequences".

Koeman skipped and Adama, Luuk de Jong, Dani Alves, Coutinho, Trincão, Lenglet, Mingueza, Riqui Puig, Neto and Nico are out, who should be joined by Umtiti and Braithwaite. At the moment there are ten losses that indicate the will to do a face wash from top to bottom.

Umtiti and Braithwaite are missing

At the moment there are ten losses that indicate the will to do a face wash from top to bottom

But when you aim to reach the top it is more important to look at those who go up and accompany you and should propel you than those who go down and leave. The five who have arrived are of a higher level, the coach's priorities. These are contrasted reinforcements, international players, important men with leadership qualities, with direct influence and immediate performance. Reputation precedes them.

Dembélé and Raphinha celebrate the Frenchman's goal at Gamper, through the Brazilian

Alex Caparros/Getty

The Ivorian Kessie (midfielder) has just won Serie A with Milan. The Danish Christensen (defence) lifted the Champions League in 2021. The French Koundé (defence) has a Europa League and has spent three seasons striking at great heights with Sevilla. Winger Raphinha has secured a starting place in the Brazilian national team after becoming one of the sensations of the Premier League. And Lewandowski (forward) has won everything in Germany (10 leagues) and a Champions League but has the soul of a young man despite the fact that he will soon turn 34.

Finishing specialist

Lewandowski shot 81 times last year, scoring 35 goals, 33 from inside the box and six headers and the woodwork left him without another nine targets.

The new one is a finishing specialist as reflected by the last two Golden Boots. He scored 33 of his 35 goals last season from inside the box. six of them He shot more than anyone: 81 times on goal, 20 more than Benzema. And the pole left him without nine more targets. For a team that was far behind Madrid and Benzema in effectiveness, Lewandowski's aim and voraciousness is a gift.

Xavi, as passionate as he is obstinate in his ideas like Buzz Lightyear, is no longer asked to refloat the ship, or return it to the proper orbit, but must reach hypervelocity as soon as possible. The success of his first project, almost galactic, depends on it. The demand is much higher than last year. The emergency room is around the corner.