• Spain's news in English
Five reasons Barcelona can win the Champions League
Barça's Mathieu (C) celebrates a goal with Vidal (R) against Deportivo Alaves at Camp Nou stadium. Photo: Lluis Gene AFP

Five reasons Barcelona can win the Champions League

AFP · 12 Sep 2016, 08:54

Published: 12 Sep 2016 08:54 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

1. The 'MSN'   

Blessed with three South American maestros in Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, Barcelona possess the most potent attack in world football in the 'MSN'.

Suarez won the European golden boot last season with 59 goals, while Messi is the reigning World Player of the Year.  

Neymar, who finished third on the Ballon d'Or podium, has returned from Brazil with a gold medal in the Rio Olympics and appears even more settled in the Catalan capital after agreeing a new long-term contract with the club.  

On top of their individual qualities, the almost telepathic relationship between the three has made Barça an almost unbeatable force in the past two years with a combined 253 goals in leading Barça to back-to-back La Liga and Copa del Rey doubles.

2. Deeper squad  

Although Barça didn't continue down the Galactico route, they did spend wisely in the summer transfer market.  

Last season Luis Enrique's men ran out of steam in April, with elimination at the hands of Atletico Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals part of four defeats in five games.

This year Enrique has a deeper and younger squad to call on having added a fourth quality forward in Valencia's Paco Alcacer to the signings of Andre Gomes, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Digne, Denis Suarez and Jasper Cillessen.

3. No Club World Cup    

One of the major reasons why no side has managed to retain the Champions League since AC Milan 26 years ago is the tiredness caused by the travel involved mid-season for FIFA's Club World Cup jamboree.

Barça's heavy schedule was burdened by a trip to Japan at the end of 2015 where they beat River Plate in the final.  

Although they did not suffer an immediate slump the accumulated fatigue took its toll in the final months of the season as they crashed out the Champions League and nearly gifted La Liga to Real Madrid.

4. A partner for Pique?  

In Umtiti, Barcelona may have found the defender they have been seeking for the best part of a decade.

Whilst Javier Mascherano has proved an able companion alongside Gerard Pique in Barcelona's Champions League wins in 2011 and 2015, the new signing from Lyon already looks like he could be the perfect companion for the Spaniard.

Umtiti is aggressive, quick, and often looking to combat danger high up the pitch which suits Barcelona's style and also allows Pique to focus on building the play from the back.

Story continues below…

5. Goalkeeper debate settled

While Claudio Bravo and Marc-Andre ter Stegen's battle for position may have kept both goalkeepers continually on their toes, the division of labour also meant the German came into Champions League games cold for the past two seasons.

Bravo was the man in charge between the sticks in La Liga with Ter Stegen utilised in the Copa del Rey and in Europe.  

Now with Bravo sold to Manchester City, Ter Stegen is Barça's undoubted number one.

Signed for his incredible ball-playing ability, Ter Stegen set a La Liga record for number of passes completed against Athletic Bilbao two weeks ago and the understanding needed between him and the defence given his unique style will only improve with more game time.

By Kieran Canning

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain's Podemos sees golden opportunity in Socialist woes
Pablo Iglesias is ready to step up in opposition. Photo: AFP

As Spain's conservatives prepare to re-take power after 10 months of political limbo, anti-austerity party Podemos has set its sights on replacing the divided Socialists as the main opposition force.

Wildlife ranger accused over decapitated bison in Valencia
The headless corpse of Sauro was found last month. Photo: Carlos Alamo / Reserva de Valdeserrillas

The case of the beheaded bison at a wildlife reserve in Valencia just got a whole lot weirder.

Spain jobless drops below 20% for first time in six years
The unemployed queuing up outside a Madrid job centre. Photo: AFP

Spain's unemployment fell below 20 percent for the first time in six years, official figures showed on Thursday.

'Saints not ghouls' insists Spanish church for Halloween
Suggested outfits from the Bishopric of Cadiz and Ceuta. Photo: Shower of Roses

Spanish bishops are urging good Christian children to forgo zombie, ghost and devil outfits and instead dress up as "saints, virgins and apostles".

Tough road ahead, Spain PM warns before return to power
Rajoy will try and form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain's acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned on Wednesday of a tough road ahead as he prepares to take power again at the head of a minority government with little support.

Russia withdraws request to refuel warships in Ceuta
The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was due to dock in Ceuta

Russia has withdrawn a request for its aircraft carrier group to be refuelled at the Spanish port of Ceuta, authorities confirmed.

Bulls replace guard dogs at scrap yard in Valencia
Two bulls will be patrolling the scrap yard in eastern Spain. Archive photo: AFP

Guard dogs were not proving enough of a deterrent to thieves at a car breakers yard in eastern Spain so the owner has brought in a pair of fighting bulls.

Two-headed shark born in Spanish laboratory
Scientists are studying the rare find. Photo: IBIMA / University of Malaga

Scientists at the University of Malaga found the embryo of a shark with two heads and just one body.

Spain under pressure to stop refuel of Russian warships
Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is due to arrive in Ceuta. Photo: Mil Ru / Wikimedia

Spain is facing international pressure to refuse permission for a Russian warship flotilla to refuel in Ceuta en route to continuing airstrikes against the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Most wanted: Fugitive rapist arrested in Tenerife
Mohammed Jahangir Alam was arrested n Tenerife. Photo: Crimestoppers.

Mohammed Jahangir Alam, one of Britain's most wanted fugitives, who fled the country in 2008 after allegedly raping a woman, was found working in Tenerife.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available