31 years old
Suarez turns 32 next year, and at the beginning of this year he himself had said he would need to start rotating. He gave the match against Leganes before elimination in the Champions League against Roma last season as an example.
“I shouldn’t have played it,” he said.
Suarez is aware that a break, like the one he has now for internationals, is becoming necessary. He simply can’t play everything.
25 years old
Barcelona spent the entire summer trying to sell Rafinha to no avail. Noone was interested in a permanent transfer, which just goes to show how ill-regarded he is around the world. At BArca, he is leeching off Arturo Vidal’s time and as the Copa del Rey rolls round the magical Riqui Puig. It’s about time Rafinha be sold or loaned in January to help Puig get his minutes in.
31 years old
After Gerard Pique’s sloppy clearance led to a goal for Valencia’s Ezequiel Garay in the second minute, the Barcelona defender lashed out at those who criticise him.The number three made the error after another mistake against Leganes gifted the minnows a winner.
“I know that there are many people who are hoping that things don’t go well for me,” he raged.
Barça’s system has never played to his strength, instead putting him, a slow centre-back, in the worst possible situation defending 50 yards from his own goal. While Pique remained to show consistency in his performance, he is not starting to decline.
His discipline and determination is beginning to decay, and for that things need to change. The time has passed when Piqué could be Barcelona’s only real right-sided centre-back and chief organiser of the defence.
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32 years old
In Barca’s draw against Girona, Vermaelen was caught out of position when El Zhar headed in the equaliser and Gerard Pique was caught in possession moments later. It allowed Rodriguez to slam the ball into the roof of the net and give Leganes, in their third season in the top flight, an unlikely yet thoroughly deserved win.
“Sometimes it’s difficult to explain what happens in a game. You have a game under control and then the opposition can do damage like they (Leganes) did in one minute,” Barca coach Valverde said.
It’s difficult to understand why Vermaelen is still at Barca. Given that he is the third left-sided centre-back, he is in a very odd position. Samuel Umtiti or Clement Lenglet will have to be injured in the hopes, of playing which doesn’t happen all too often, and when it does he’ll be needing to bring his A game.
Umtiti is injured right now, but will be fit by the time January rolls around; and that’s why the Belgian should be sold in the winter transfer window, removing his not inconsiderable wages from the club’s books.
24 years old
The midfielder has yet to make an appearance this season despite being given the all clear to return to action over a month ago. It was Valverde who brought him in from the wilderness towards the end of last season, most notably after Andres Iniesta announced his decision to leave the club.
“It’d be a mistake to try and find a replica of Iniesta but we players similar to him such as Aleña, Denis and Coutinho,” were the words of Valverde.
Last season he played a total of 1,130 minutes across all competitions. 18 matches in LaLiga, three in the Champions League, five in the Copa del Rey and once in the Spanish Super Cup.
However, this season, his contributions to the Barcelona first-team are sporadic and unreliable; so what purpose is he serving right now?