One would expect an FC Barcelona side (minus Lionel Messi) to struggle on the pitch. However, as recent results have shown, that is far from being the case, as the Catalonian side have pretty-much cruised in their last two matches against Rayo Vallecano and BATE Borisov.
Their main struggles though, have come off the pitch, as they face the threat of losing Brazilian star Neymar, who has taken up the mantle of Messi, as the main driving force behind the team.
Neymar scored four goals in Barca’s 5-2 hammering of Rayo Vallecano, and provided the two assists to midfielder Ivan Rakitic, in their 2-0 win over BATE, in the UEFA Champions League, in midweek. FC Barcelona though, are faced with the possibility of losing out on the services of Neymar, as rumours of a possible Manchester United offer have started doing the rounds in the media.
In spite of the rumours however, Barca manager Luis Enrique was all praises for the former Santos forward. According to Enrique, Neymar is nowhere near his full potential.
“Are we seeing the best Neymar since he joined Barcelona? No, I don’t think so. He has always been a great player for us,” Enrique was quoted saying, by Goal.com. “He is a very special player, a unique player. He has been great all these years. Obviously he is still developing, but he has been fantastic ever since he came to Barcelona. He scores goals, provides assists and can make the difference.”
Enrique also proceeded to praise FC Barcelona’s Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez, ahead of their home match against SD Eibar, on Sunday. He said, “Suarez is one of the best attackers in the world at the moment. He already was one of the best when he came here and has adapted very well. He is very competitive and brings a different type of character this club normally have.”
The FC Barcelona manager reiterated the fact that the team, management and fans cannot ask for anything more from these two South American stars, as they are already putting in exemplary performances.
“Of course you are seeing a different kind of football from them because Messi is not there. He creates situations that we don’t see now, but Neymar and Suarez are not different players all of a sudden,” said Enrique. “We don’t have to overload them with added responsibilities and expect something extra from them.”
FC Barcelona are currently occupying the third spot on the La Liga table, but have the chance to replace Celta Vigo, on the second place, if they defeat Eibar, this weekend. They would, in fact, go level on points with arch rivals Real Madrid, at the top of the table, only to be separated on goal difference.