With the new campaign coming up fast we take a look at the players and managers with a point to prove over the course of it. 


The Brazilian superstar showed his class to the world this summer at the Confederations Cup. 

Whether he can fulfil this potential next season for both Barcelona and Brazil is unknown.

Huge pressure rests on his shoulders in his home country, with the country determined to win their home World Cup next year.

Competitive tournament football is a different proposition to the Confederations Cup and the flamboyant attacker must not try to do it all himself.

Regarding Barcelona, his performances this summer means he will be a marked man next season, if he truly is the next all time great of the game, he must deliver similar performances consistently like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. 

Barcelona's style of play should suit Neymar - his technical ability is undoubted. However, the acid test will be in the Champions League where he will face more physical sides. 

He must try and add some size to his slender frame to counteract this. 

It will also be interesting to see how he links up with Messi, with many new arrivals to the Nou Camp like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thierry Henry and David Villa seeing their own goal tallies drop as they must play to accommodate the prolific Argentine.

David Moyes

Moyes is undoubtedly a very talented manager, his track record with Everton proves this. 

However, the task of replacing Sir Alex Ferguson, and being the face of the biggest club in the world is a daunting one.

Before a ball is kicked Moyes will have to prove himself in the transfer market. United's rivals are keen to strengthen their squad. Ferguson's savvy in the transfer market was crucial to United's repeated success and if Moyes can attract the right players, it gives him a good foundation to build on. 

It will be important for the Glaswegian to manage a larger squad, with bigger egos, he must earn the respect of his squad quickly, and resolve the Wayne Rooney situation. 

Moyes must stamp his own authority on the post, while still retaining the best aspects of the Ferguson era, such as the late goals and the attacking football.

Pep Guardiola

Guardiola finds himself in a similar situation to Moyes, replacing a manager who has been hugely successful in Jupp Heynckes.

It seems like a no-win situation for Guardiola, anything less than a plethora of trophies in his first year will be considered a failure in comparison to this seasons European and Domestic domination by the Bavarian giants.

It will be intriguing to see what style of play Guardiola has his side play this year. He does not find himself inheriting a group of players largely brought up on a 'tiki-taka' philosophy.

However, it appears he is looking to retain some of the footballing beliefs he made famous at the Nou Camp with the signing of the technically gifted Thiago Alacantara - a player Guardiola brought into the first team squad at Barcelona in his four year tenure. 

If Guardiola can combine the best of what he brought to the Nou Camp, with this already fantastic Bayern squad, he may well build another side that will dominate club football for years to come.


Yes, the Catalan giants cantered to another La Liga title last year, but the 2012/213 season will be remembered for the beating they received against Bayern Munich over two legs in the Champions League semi-final. 

It seemed to symbolise to end of Barcelona's dominance over the club game, Bayern dominated Tito Villanova's side in all areas of the field, and in a tactical sense also, as Barca struggled to break down the German sides system. 

Next season's Champions League knockout stages performances, will tell us if this result was a blip, or if the era of 'tiki-taka' is over.

Lionel Messi

For many observers, Lionel Messi can never be considered the greatest player of all time unless he delivers in an Argentina shirt at next years World Cup in Brazil. 

Pele, Diego Maradona, Franz Beckenbauer and Zinedine Zidane will always be remembered for their iconic performances at the World Cup. 

Looking through a Messi highlight reel, will feature many acts of genius in the wine and blue of Barcelona, but few for Argentina. 

Messi doesn't seem to feature as prominently for his home country, possibly because he doesn't receive the same service as he does when he is the number one target, for Xavi and Andres Iniesta's laser-guided passing. 

That being said, Messi must become a leader for his country, as he does for his club.

Maradona's greatness is associated with his exploits for Argentina in 1986 - where he was the reason Argentina won the trophy. Argentina were already a very good side, but Maradona took them to the next level. 

If Messi can follow in the Napoli great's footsteps, and bring his undoubted ability to the biggest stage of them all, he may well get his hands on some International silverware, while achieving the ultimate personal accolade - becoming the greatest player ever.


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