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Power Ranking Every Barcelona Player from the 2013/14 La Liga Season

Jason PettigroveContributor IMay 19, 2014

Power Ranking Every Barcelona Player from the 2013/14 La Liga Season

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    Barcelona have turned to their full squad this season.
    Barcelona have turned to their full squad this season.David Ramos/Getty Images

    Barcelona ultimately endured an unsuccessful season after failing to see off Atletico Madrid at the sixth time of asking. The match itself mirrored Barca's season. Great first half, poor and uninspiring second.

    Unsurprisingly Tata Martino announced his resignation immediately after the end of the final La Liga match, per The Independent.

    Martino leaves with just the Spanish Super Cup to show for his only season in the managerial hot seat at Camp Nou.

    Let's take a look back at the 2013/14 campaign and analyse the performance of every player that he used during the campaign. 

    All stats from WhoScored.com unless otherwise stated.

Honourable Mentions

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    Ibrahim Afellay was one of a handful of first-teamers to endure the briefest of cameos in 2013/14.
    Ibrahim Afellay was one of a handful of first-teamers to endure the briefest of cameos in 2013/14.Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

    A small handful of players barely registered on the roster at Camp Nou during the 2013/14 La Liga season.

    Ibrahim Afellay must feel the most hard done by. Per Football Oranje, back in January when rumours were rife that the Dutchman might be loaned or sold, Tata Martino was unequivocal when he said: “He’s a quality player. I rely entirely on him for the rest of the season.”

    And then promptly played him for only three minutes in a solitary substitute appearance against Malaga.

    Just a week before, Jean Marie Dongou had his six minutes against Levante. Not such a productive season for one of the most promising La Masia graduates.

    Seven minutes for Barcelona against Granada in November was probably not what Adama Traore expected when drafted into first-team contention either, but Martino has been fairly consistent in his team selections.

    Before being struck down with a serious cruciate ligament injury in October, Jonathan dos Santos was full of optimism for the season ahead, despite only playing a total of 16 minutes over three substitute appearances. 

    Sergi Roberto at least managed one start amongst his 16 substitute appearances, and Cristian Tello had two starts and 20 sub appearances.

    The latter two especially have been in and around the first-team picture for some while now and you feel it is now or never for them to have genuine aspirations of a regular starting berth in the side.

Alex Song

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    Alex Song hasn't managed to force himself into the side as a first choice.
    Alex Song hasn't managed to force himself into the side as a first choice.Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

    Appearances: 12 (7)

    Goals: 0

    Yellow Cards: 1

    Red Cards: 0

    Alex Song has never really been a darling of the Camp Nou terraces since his arrival from Arsenal.

    Whilst he rarely puts a foot wrong when called upon, Song doesn't have the dynamism in his defensive midfield position that Sergio Busquets possesses, and although the need for cover is noted, he is never going to usurp Busquets in the role.

    A proposed move back to Liverpool and the Premier League per Darren Lewis of The Daily Mirror may suit all parties, unless Song prefers to play understudy.

Jose Manuel Pinto

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    Jose Manuel Pinto has had more games than he would've expected.
    Jose Manuel Pinto has had more games than he would've expected.Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Appearances: 12 (1)

    Goals: 0

    Yellow Cards: 1

    Red Cards: 0

    Never has a goalkeeper had so many patrons kept on tenterhooks throughout a game of football!!

    Jose Manuel Pinto should be commended for his service to the Blaugrana, just a handful of appearances over his career at Camp Nou but always ready when called upon.

    Perhaps part of his appeal is that you never really know what he is going to do next, but in general terms he's actually not that bad a keeper.

    Thrust into the limelight after the unfortunate injury to Victor Valdes, Pinto has acquitted himself well.

Martin Montoya

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    Martin Montoya hasn't enjoyed the sort of run in the team that he would like.
    Martin Montoya hasn't enjoyed the sort of run in the team that he would like.David Ramos/Getty Images

    Appearances: 12 (1)

    Goals: 0

    Yellow Cards: 0

    Red Cards: 0

    Three assists in Martin Montoya's dozen appearances this term is a a sign of growing influence in the right-back slot.

    A role that he may well make his own during next season if rumours of a Dani Alves sale, including this one per L'Equipe via Matt Law of Sports Mole, are true.

    One aspect of his game that needs to be worked on over the summer is the sharpness in his delivery from the wide areas.

    Often this season we have seen that when Montoya gets himself into a great crossing position, a delay before releasing the ball allows the covering defender to get across and snuff out the chance.

    Where Montoya plays a more considered and deliberate role, Alves is more dynamic and plays the percentage game.

    Defensively Montoya already wins more duels than Alves, 53 per cent to 45 per cent per Squawka, and we've already seen how adept he is at bringing the ball out of defence.

    Therefore, hone his crossing ability and we have another La Masia gem ready to roll off the production line.

Carles Puyol

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    Carles Puyol will be missed.
    Carles Puyol will be missed.Getty Images/Getty Images

    Appearances: 5

    Goals: 1

    Yellow Cards: 0

    Red Cards: 0

    The lowest we are ever likely to see Barcelona's captain in any list, but his sporadic appearances this season account for this.

    It's been blindingly obvious to supporters for a while now that the battering Carles Puyol's body was taking week after week meant that sooner or later it would start to give up on him, slowly but surely.

    Unfortunately for Barca and Puyol, it was this season when Old Father Time decided to pay a visit.

    Just five appearances after a succession of injuries led to Puyol's inevitable decision via The Daily Telegraph:

    I want to announce that at the end of the season I will no longer be a Barcelona player [...] After two recent surgeries, it has become harder for me to recover the level that I demand of myself and that I need to be at to play here.

    It's safe to say that Barcelona will never quite be the same without the shaggy-haired destroyer barking orders at the heart of the Blaugrana defence.

Adriano Correia

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    When Jordi Alba has been injured, Adriano Correia has been an able deputy.
    When Jordi Alba has been injured, Adriano Correia has been an able deputy.David Ramos/Getty Images

    Appearances: 24 (2)

    Goals: 3

    Yellow Cards: 8

    Red Cards: 0

    Suspensions, injuries and tactical variations have all contributed to Adriano Correia starting almost 25 games this season.

    Steady but not spectacular, Correia can always be relied upon to dig in and produce the goods.

    Three goals, including a cracker against Malaga in the second game of the season, showed some attacking prowess, whereas his eight yellow cards hinted at a more combative side to the player.

    The biggest compliment one can pay him is that Jordi Alba was not really missed in the left-back slot thanks to the professionalism of the Brazilian.

Javier Mascherano

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    Is Javier Mascherano on his way out of Camp Nou?
    Is Javier Mascherano on his way out of Camp Nou?David Ramos/Getty Images

    Appearances: 27 (1)

    Goals: 0

    Yellow Cards: 8

    Red Cards: 0

    Javier Mascherano has had a mixed season at the heart of the Barcelona defence.

    He was squarely at fault for two of Real Madrid's goals in the recent El Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu and there have been a number of occasions throughout the season when, frankly, he hasn't been up to the simple task of defending.

    At other times—against Manchester City in the Champions League is a prime example—"Masch" has been immense alongside Gerard Pique.

    Jamie McLaughlin of Metro notes the strong rumours surrounding a return to Liverpool for the player, but unless Barca can secure a top-class replacement, there is little point in letting Mascherano go.

     

Dani Alves

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    Dani Alves has once again provided the most assists for Lionel Messi.
    Dani Alves has once again provided the most assists for Lionel Messi.David Ramos/Getty Images

    Appearances: 26 (1)

    Goals: 2

    Yellow Cards: 6

    Red Cards: 0

    Dani Alves has still not learnt from his mistakes of seasons past. 

    Pushing further and further forward to supplement the attack leaves the Blaugrana back line under immediate pressure to a counter, Alves having little to no chance of getting back to cover.

    Even when Alves is in situ, his one-to-one marking has left a lot to be desired during the campaign—especially if the ball comes over from the opposite flank and Alves drifts in centrally, leaving the "back door" wide open.

    As with Alba, his petulance has tended to get him in trouble. As one of the most experienced players in the squad, he should know better.

    Both his goals were during the very early part of the season and since then, wayward crossing rather than pinpoint accuracy have become a feature of his play.

    He looks tired and disinterested and per ESPN, Alves has suggested a "negative energy" at the club is what is to blame for his poor form.

Jordi Alba

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    Jordi Alba has suffered with injuries.
    Jordi Alba has suffered with injuries.Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Appearances: 14 (1)

    Goals: 0

    Yellow Cards: 5

    Red Cards: 1

    On the opposite side of the back four, Jordi Alba's discipline has let him down during his tenure in the left-back slot this season.

    Five yellows and a red in just 14 appearances has shown the spiky nature of the individual. However, Alba rarely gets booked for a mistimed tackle or foul. Either his mouth or petulance is what has hampered his defensive excellence.

    With only two assists to his name, you might therefore assume that his wing-back play hasn't been up to scratch, but he is remunerated for being a defender first and foremost. A role he has performed with aplomb this season.

Cesc Fabregas

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    Cesc Fabregas is the subject of bids from various Premier League clubs.
    Cesc Fabregas is the subject of bids from various Premier League clubs.Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

    Appearances: 28 (8)

    Goals: 8

    Yellow Cards: 4

    Red Cards: 0

    Cesc Fabregas has become the archetypal jack of all trades but master of none. 

    He has, at various times, slotted in nicely as the false nine, an attacking midfielder in the Iniesta mould and a playmaker to cover Xavi's absences.

    His problem? Despite being adequate in any role, he's not quite good enough to enjoy a starting place over his contemporaries. Probably not the way he envisaged his career panning out upon his return to Camp Nou.

    The most assists in the team (13) and enough goals to warrant a more permanent residency are all in his favour.

    A disappointment at the lack of playing time may be what's behind a rumoured move to Manchester City, per Mundo Deportivo via Simon Bajkowski of the Manchester Evening News.

     

Victor Valdes

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    Victor Valdes' Barca career came to an abrupt end.
    Victor Valdes' Barca career came to an abrupt end.Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Appearances: 26

    Goals: 0

    Yellow Cards: 2

    Red Cards: 0

    Poor Victor Valdes. Heading towards the end of another fantastic season between the sticks, the cruelest of fates befell him.

    Gathering a routine cross in the Celta Vigo game, Valdes' awkward fall ensured that his Barcelona career would end two months earlier than planned.

    Prior to that game, Valdes was doing what he does best. A calming presence behind the defensive line, the difference in demeanour between Valdes and Pinto is marked.

    Valdes excels in all areas of the goalkeeping role, and he will be missed despite the expected arrival of Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Pedro Rodriguez

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    Only Alexis Sanchez and Lionel Messi have scored more than Pedro Rodriguez.
    Only Alexis Sanchez and Lionel Messi have scored more than Pedro Rodriguez.Getty Images/Getty Images

    Appearances: 28 (9)

    Goals: 15

    Yellow Cards: 3

    Red Cards: 0

    Pedro Rodriguez is another to have a mixed bag of a season.

    Who can forget his magnificent hat-trick in the away match against Rayo Vallecano? That match was just as notable for the home side having more possession than the Blaugrana—the first time that had happened in 136 La Liga games, per John Drayton of The Daily Mail.

    Or his man-of-the-match showing against Getafe, where his nine-minute hat-trick was even more impressive. 

    Third in the list for assists, Pedro has shown that in general terms, he is full value for his place in the side.

    However, in order to accommodate Neymar when he is fit, Pedro and Alexis Sanchez have had to alternate. There's not too much doubting that an extended run in the side can often be a precursor to a player finding a rich vein of form, rather than a stop-start existence.

    Pedro's noticeable dips have coincided with a few minutes here or there and that's no good to anybody.

Marc Bartra

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    Marc Bartra finally got a run in the team.
    Marc Bartra finally got a run in the team.Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Appearances: 17 (3)

    Goals: 1

    Yellow Cards: 3

    Red Cards: 0

    Whilst Gerard Pique will feel aggrieved at missing the latter part of this season, it has allowed Marc Bartra to flourish alongside Javier Mascherano.

    The young Catalan has been hammering at the door for what seems like years, and when his opportunity finally came, he took it gleefully with both hands.

    Adept at dribbling out from defence, quick, strong in the air and dominant on the ground, Barca have another genuine talent on their hands.

    That he came close to leaving puts a huge question mark over the administrative side of things at the club. Bartra will be a fixture in the centre of the Blaugrana defence for years to come.

    The highlight of his season must have been the towering header to equalise in the, ultimately unsuccessful, Copa del Rey final.

Alexis Sanchez

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    Alexis Sanchez has weighed in heavily on the goal front.
    Alexis Sanchez has weighed in heavily on the goal front.David Ramos/Getty Images

    Appearances: 27 (7)

    Goals: 19

    Yellow Cards: 3

    Red Cards: 0

    Alexis Sanchez has been on fire throughout this season. 19 goals and 10 assists put him second only to Lionel Messi.

    From his standpoint last season, where he was beginning to be roundly booed by the Camp Nou faithful after a meagre return, Sanchez worked hard and has ultimately come up with the goods week in and week out.

    Selling him to Juventus, as has been rumoured by Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio (h/t 101 Great Goals), doesn't really make an awful lot of sense.

    A suggestion that the return of Gerard Deulofeu will hasten Sanchez's departure is somewhat wide of the mark, given that we have no way of yet knowing whether the youngster will feature on a regular basis for the first team.

    Only three goals since the beginning of March hint at a player out of form, but he has only completed 90 minutes in five of the games since then, so such stats are misleading.

    Barcelona have long looked for a true "nine" to lead the line. Alexis Sanchez can be that man.

Gerard Pique

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    Gerard Pique had a better first half to the season.
    Gerard Pique had a better first half to the season.Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Appearances: 26

    Goals: 2

    Yellow Cards: 4

    Red Cards: 0

    Gerard Pique hasn't had the best season by his own standards, but you certainly know when he's not around. Just look at how the last weeks of the season have panned out without him at the heart of the defence.

    Pique appears to benefit more when he is the pupil rather than the master. There aren't too many better defensive combinations than Pique/Puyol. 

    If we have a Pique/Mascherano or a Pique/Bartra variation, it's not quite the same. Those players look to him to provide the call, to "lead."

    But Gerard Pique is not a leader. An excellent defender yes, but not a leader.

    His value to the team is evidenced by the fact that, apart from the Atletico Madrid game when he received his injury, there have been only two other games where he hasn't completed a full 90 minutes.

    An accomplished and elegant centre-back, Pique has a wonderful reading of the game and only needs to gently improve his aerial dominance to allow Barca to better deal with the ball into the box that currently causes full-scale pandemonium.

Neymar

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    Neymar has enjoyed a mixed season.
    Neymar has enjoyed a mixed season.Clive Rose/Getty Images

    Appearances: 19 (7)

    Goals: 9

    Yellow Cards: 6

    Red Cards: 0

    Whilst an €86 million price tag is hardly the player's fault, you have to ask the question as to whether Neymar often deserved a place in the starting lineup at the expense of the more in-form Sanchez or Pedro?

    Arriving in a blaze of glory at the start of the season, the Brazilian hit the ground running and appeared to take to European football like a duck to water.

    A winning away goal to secure the Spanish Super Cup, a goal and an assist in his first El Clasico fixture. Everything was going so well.

    Goals, assists and man-of-the-match performances aplenty before Christmas gave Barcelona fans genuine hopes that "Messi-dependence" was finally over.

    However, injury and loss of form since then has contributed to a relatively poor second half to his season.

    Nine goals and eight assists are a decent return from a first season in a completely new environment and with a good World Cup behind him, assuming Brazil do well, there is no reason why a fit and firing Neymar cannot be integral to Barca's aspirations next season.

Sergio Busquets

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    There is no finer defensive midfielder than Sergio Busquets.
    There is no finer defensive midfielder than Sergio Busquets.Associated Press

    Appearances: 30 (2)

    Goals: 1

    Yellow Cards: 11

    Red Cards: 0

    Eleven yellow cards across the La Liga season doesn't accurately reflect Sergio Busquets' excellent season.

    He has given a total of 2,139 passes across the season with a 92 per cent pass accuracy per Squawka. A quite astonishing statistic for a defensive midfielder.

    Alex Song has barely had a look in because Busquets has once again been the glue that holds the team together. Putting his foot in where it hurts, doing the necessary hard labour with no fuss.

    There are no superlatives left to describe the high standard of excellence that Busquets applies to his work in each and every game.

    Mr Dependable.

Xavi

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    Xavi Hernandez has been used more sparingly during this campaign.
    Xavi Hernandez has been used more sparingly during this campaign.David Ramos/Getty Images

    Appearances: 26 (4)

    Goals: 3

    Yellow Cards: 0

    Red Cards: 0

    Xavi Hernandez's stats defy logic. 2,322 passes across the season with a 93 per cent pass accuracy per Squawka are from another planet.

    Makes you wonder why Tata Martino decided not to start with him against Atletico Madrid, Barca's most important match of the season. It's a theme that Martino has applied throughout the season without really being to anyone's benefit.

    An acknowledgement that the elder statesmen of the team could do with more recovery came after Barca were trounced 7-0 by Bayern Munich, the suggestion being that the Blaugrana needed to arrive at the business end of the season with all players fully refreshed.

    Initially the rotation system deployed worked wonders for the team, but then Xavi would be benched when fully fit and for no apparent reason.

    Games that would normally be dictated by the metronomic Hernandez were now almost given over to the opposition. In all of the last five games of the season, Xavi did not play the full 90 minutes when quite clearly he was ready to play.

    Perhaps only one goal and one assist in the league dating back to October is what had begun to sway Martino. In any event, Barca remain a much more fluid and efficient machine with Xavi at the heart of it.

Andres Iniesta

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    Andres Iniesta has provided his usual excellence throughout the season.
    Andres Iniesta has provided his usual excellence throughout the season.Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Appearances: 27 (8)

    Goals: 3

    Yellow Cards: 0

    Red Cards: 0

    Andres Iniesta enjoyed a real purple patch back in March as the architect behind the wins over Osasuna and Real Madrid. "El Ilusionista" has once again provided football to truly marvel at. The kind that you are happy to stump up your hard-earned money for.

    When Neymar has been injured, Don Andres has been employed further forward than his normal midfield role, and it's arguable that he is more dynamic in the final third when playing off the shoulder of the defender.

    Never one to complain, Iniesta is—and has always been—a model professional. A dream to manage. Although his "goals for" column is a little light, he more than makes up for an absence of strikes with his intelligent and hard-working team ethic.

    51 chances created and over half of all challenges won, per Squawka, speaks for itself.

Lionel Messi

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    Lionel Messi has been Barcelona's talisman yet again this season.
    Lionel Messi has been Barcelona's talisman yet again this season.Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    Appearances: 29 (2)

    Goals: 28

    Yellow Cards: 1

    Red Cards: 0

    Despite missing almost two months of the season, Lionel Messi has still ended up as the club's top scorer by an absolute country mile.

    Joint second in the assist chart, anyone trying to say that "Messi-dependence" is over is trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

    Never has one team been so reliant on one man. Mark him out of the game and the potency of Barcelona is not in the same ballpark. Across this La Liga season, he has an astonishing 14 man-of-the-match awards for example.

    His season has again been full of highlights, with surely the best of them coming at the Santiago Bernabeu with a coolly taken hat-trick to propel him ahead of Alfredo Di Stefano as the player with most goals in El Clasico fixtures.

    A "parking of the bus" approach that many teams have adopted toward the end of the season to curtail his excellence merely identify the lengths that opposition teams will go to in order to keep him at bay. Often abandoning their own game plan to "stop Messi."

    We shouldn't be surprised. Messi has been making the impossible seem routine for years now, and even when his season is disrupted, there is still no one on the football pitch to touch him.

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