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Yup. The subject is being brought up yet again. This time it’s your turn to do the debating, state the facts, and argue your points. The question is: Who should be the left-winger for next season?
In this EXCLUSIVE totalBarça article you’ll find:
- a list of over 40 possible candidates for the left-wing position that have been linked to FC Barcelona
- a link to the players profiles on Wikipedia
- a video showcasing their talents and skills
- a poll of the top-10 realistic candidates
- a place to discuss and share your thoughts and ideas about this issue
Since Ronaldinho’s departure, Barça’s left-wing position has been a hotly disputed discussion amongst culés. The first candidate to make that position his own after the legendary Brazilian magician’s departure was former Arsenal forward and French international Thierry Henry. In Ronaldinho’s last season at the club, due to injury problems that role had been shared between himself, Iniesta, and Henry. While many weren’t convinced of Henry’s abilities to don the left-wing position because he hadn’t played there since his Juventus days back in 1999, they were to be proved wrong the next season under Josep Guardiola’s guidance. Not only did he make the left-wing position his own, he mastered to score 26 goals in all competitions in the legendary 2008-09 season in which Barcelona won the first treble in its history (also becoming the first La Liga team to do so) and Henry finally captured the Champions League title that had eluded him previously in his career. Surely, he proved his doubters wrong by showing them, that the Thierry Henry of Arsenal had not disappeared.
The pre-season of 2009-10 kicked off with Henry sidelined due to an injury. Over the summer, there was speculated that 32 year old Henry was entertaining the thought of leaving Barça to ply his trade in the MLS while Barcelona were observing the market for a suitor in his position. Despite all speculation, it wasn’t Henry that parted from Barcelona, it turned out to be his good friend Samuel Eto’o who was involved in a mega cash plus player deal that brought in Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Inter Milan.
Behind all the speculation and limelight, there was someone that had been ignored leading up to the beginning of the season. With all the big names being thrown around the media, they had forgotten that the Prince was eagerly waiting for his chance behind the scenes. The 92nd minute substitute in the Champions League final against Manchester United was finally given his chances at the birth of the new season. Although he had featured in 14 matches in the previous season, he had not managed to score any goals.
But this time around, it was going to be all different. He scored his first goal in his second pre-season game at the Wembley Cup against Al-Ahly finishing them off 4-1. That wasn’t the last of him, in the next fixture against a LA Galaxy team which featured David Beckham, he opened the score of the game that Barcelona ended up winning 2-1. And the goals just kept coming and coming, one against Seattle Sounders, another one in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup final against Athletic Bilbao, and then the one that finally introduced him to the rest of the world.
The time had come for the Prince to be unveiled. It was on the night of the European Super Cup final in Monaco against the Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk. It wasn’t an easy game for Barcelona this time, we had struggled and couldn’t find the back of the net. Regular time of 90 minutes had passed and the match remained scoreless. It went on to extra-time but it wasn’t until the 115th minute in the second half of the extra-time that a goal appeared. It was a moment of Messi magic and super-cool finishing from the Prince that sealed the victory for Barça and enabled them to go down in the hall of fame alongside Kubala’s ‘Team of the 5 Cups’. It was then, when the world had witnessed the first strike of the Prince of Monaco and a new hero was born. To culés, the Prince is known as Pedro Rodríguez. Even the most loyal and die-hard culés would not have imagined the impact Pedro has made since his introduction in the beginning of the season.
Half a season later, he kept banging in the goals and the Prince shone again in another cup final in Dubai this time. Pedro managed to score in the Club World Cup final and thus became the first player in history of football to score in 6 major competitions in one year. Dare to say that even Pep Guardiola himself must have been a bit surprised by the performances that Pedro has been putting in. One thing is sure though, Pedro has given Pep a bit of a headache when selecting his line-ups. Who to pick…. Pedro or Henry?
As usual, there are two sides to every story. We’re all aware that the elections are held this summer and we must expect all sorts of transfer stories to be speculating around the club again. Some might sound far fetched and others quite interesting (you’re the judge of that). Now, it’s your turn to share your opinion and views. Should we sell Henry and rotate between Pedro, Bojan, Jeffren, and perhaps Gai? Or should we sign a crack?
To assist with this discussion, I have looked back at all the names that have been linked to the left-wing position through the media at one point or another since the departure of Ronaldinho. You might notice that some players are not natural wingers but they were linked to this position anyway, so they have been included.
Available players (alphabetical order):
Alexander Hleb – 28 years old – FC Barcelona (video)
Alexandre Pato – 20 years old – AC Milan (video)
Andrei Arshavin – 28 years old – Arsenal (video)
Andrés Guardado – 23 years old – Deportivo (video)
Andrés Iniesta – 25 years old – FC Barcelona (video)
Ángel Di María – 21 years old – Benfica (video)
Arda Turan – 22 years old – Galatasaray (video)
Balázs Dzsudzsák – 23 years old – PSV Eindhoven (video)
Bojan Krkić- 19 years old – FC Barcelona (video)
Danny Miguel – 26 years old – Zenith St. Petersburg (video)
David Silva – 24 years old – Valencia (video)
David Villa – 28 years old – Valencia (video)
Diego Capel – 21 years old – Sevilla (video)
Eden Hazard – 19 years old – Lille (video)
Ezequiel Lavezzi – 24 years old – Napoli (video)
Florent Malouda – 29 years old – Chelsea (video)
Franck Ribéry – 26 years old – Bayern Munich (video)
Gai Assulin – 18 years old – FC Barcelona (video)
Hatem ben Arfa – 22 years old – Marseille (video)
Hulk – 23 years old – Porto (video)
Jeffrén Suárez- 22 years old – FC Barcelona (video)
Juan Mata – 21 years old – Valencia (video)
Luis Suárez – 23 years old – Ajax (video)
Mario Balotelli – 19 years old – Inter Milan (video)
Marko Marin – 20 years old – Werder Bremen (video)
Mesut Özil – 19 years old – Werder Bremen (video)
Miloš Krasić – 25 years old – CSKA Moscow (video)
Nani – 23 years old – Manchester United (video)
Pedro Rodríguez - 22 years old – FC Barcelona (video)
Robin van Persie – 26 years old – Arsenal (video)
Robinho – 26 years old – Manchester City (video, note: Loaned out to Santos but still possible to sign in the summer)
Ronaldinho – 29 years old – AC Milan (video, note: Included because his brother told the media that a return to Barcelona is not ruled out)
Sergio Agüero – 21 years old – Atletico Madrid (video)
Theo Walcott – 20 years old – Arsenal (video)
Victor Moses – 19 years old – Crystal Palace (video)
Wayne Rooney – 24 years old – Manchester United (video)
Willian – 21 years old – Shakhtar Donetsk (video)
Yoann Gourcuff - 23 years old – Bordeaux (video)
Yossi Benayoun – 29 years old – Liverpool (video)
Non-available players (alphabetical order):
Arthur Maia – 17 years old – Victoria (reason: rejected approach from Barcelona according to article)
Carlos Tévez – 25 years old – Manchester City (reason: joined Manchester City)
Cristiano Ronaldo – 24 years old – Real Madrid (reason: joined Real Madrid)
Goran Pandev – 26 years old – Inter Milan (reason: joined Inter Milan)
Karim Benzema – 22 years old – Real Madrid (reason: joined Real Madrid)
Yuri Zhirkov – 26 years old – Chelsea (reason: joined Chelsea)
The poll includes 10 realistic candidates out of the ones listed above.
After voting, please share your thoughts of whom YOU would like to see in the starting left-wing role. Keep in mind that the players mentioned in this article are there to help and make you aware of all the different possible candidates out there.
Please keep your comments clean and refrain from aggressive language, remember everyone has their own opinion.
Enough reading, let the discussion begin!