Marc Bartra Has Settled Barcelona's Centre-Back Problem
Rescue has finally arrived for Barcelona. The Catalan club has had real issues defensively over the past year, and many were not happy when Barcelona exited the summer transfer window without purchasing a new centre-back.
It was believed that this season would be yet another time of defensive liabilities for Barcelona as the club was still without a world-class defender who could stand in the gap.
Enter Marc Bartra.
In June, 22-year-old Bartra gave an interview with AS, which was reported on Goal.com, where he confidently made the following statement.
“All I can do is focus on my game and show those that watch me play that I’m good enough to stay at Barca and that perhaps the club doesn’t need to buy another center-back.”
At first glance, it was easy to write this statement off. Though Bartra was a top young defender, the club needed someone who was a star. The 22-year-old believed that he could be the answer, but it was easy to wave off his interview.
Fast-forward to today and Bartra has become the most talked about player in the Barcelona squad.
After it was confirmed by the Daily Mail that Javier Mascherano had suffered a hamstring injury and was ruled out for around two weeks, Bartra was finally given the chance he has been waiting for.
Since making his first start in place of Mascherano in Barcelona’s 4-1 victory over Real Sociedad, the 22-year-old has been nothing short of spectacular.
Being a Barcelona defender, Bartra needed to show that he could pass the ball. According to WhoScored.com, the Catalan is averaging a passing accuracy of over 94 percent.
Blaugrana defenders must also be able to do a bit more than merely defend. During his three starts, Bartra has been able to score once while also forcing the keeper to make a save three times.
It is also important to mention that the young defender is averaging over three accurate long balls per game.
But what fans really want to know is just how well Bartra can defend.
Well, to put it simply, he has been Barcelona’s best defender in every match he has played this season and has not made a single mistake to this point.
Bartra is averaging nearly four tackles and interceptions per game and clears the ball at least six times per match. But the shocking fact is that he has rarely been beaten off of the dribble.
The young defender has showed that he knows how to stand his ground and defend like a true star. According to Squawka.com, Bartra has won 83 percent of his tackles as well as over 70 percent of his aerial duels.
But the real proof of Bartra’s ability comes by just watching him play.
Is Marc Bartra the answer for Barcelona?
He knows how to position himself, and he is very mature when making decisions. Bartra doesn’t take risks and only goes forward when it doesn’t jeopardize the defense.
Oh, and if you were wondering, Bartra has never been caught behind the ball after Barcelona has given possession away. He stays backs and does his job well.
It may only be three games into his time as a starter, but Bartra has proved something. He meant what he said about Barcelona not needing to sign a new centre-back.
Bartra is not only the answer to Barcelona’s defensive problems now, but he is also the future. The La Masia graduate is no longer just a kid. He has proved that he has what it takes to be a world-class defender, and that is exactly what will happen.
He is already showing leadership on the pitch, and his maturity has been evident. Bartra's confidence is growing as is his comfort on the biggest of stages. A star has been born.
The era of Marc Bartra is upon us. Barcelona’s defensive savior is here, and Tata Martino has one less problem to worry about. It may be early, but Bartra is no fluke. He is the real deal.
Is Marc Bartra Barcelona's defensive future? Does the Catalan club still need to sign another centre-back? Leave your thoughts and comments below!
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