Football

Tiki-Taka is dead - So what's next for Barcelona?

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After 14 trophies in 4 years with Pep Guardiola, it was time for a change at Nou Camp. Assistant manager Tito Vilanova was chosen as Guardiola's successor and he was expected to win trophies.

It all started extremely well for Tito in La Liga, where Barca recorded only one loss in 23 games. Lionel Messi netted 34 goals in this period alone and was the driving force of the Catalans.

But after that something went wrong.

Tito had to go to New York for around two months to undergo surgery and complete his recovery.

After that Barcelona looked different. They couldn't find the form from the start of the season and this was seen most clearly against Bayern Munich who trashed them not once, but twice.

The Catalans also lost two El Clasicos in April, but after all Barca won the La Liga, which was a victory in a season full of disappointment.

On July 19 2013 Vilanova resigned as Barcelona manager because of his health.

A few days later Barcelona confirmed that Gerardo Martino will be their new manager.

Many haven't heard of Martino, but he is the manager that led Paraguay to the quarter-finals at the World Cup in South Africa in 2010 and won the Argentine Primera Division with Newell's Old Boys.

At Barcelona he started with a 7-0 victory against Levante and has already won his first trophy with the Catalans- the Spanish Supercup.

The big task for Martino is to strengthen the defence. Martino's teams are known for being strong at the back and for now Barcelona isn't an exception. In 5 games only 3 goals were conceded and all of them were when Barca were visitors.

Fans were expecting a defender will be bought in the summer and Barca were interested in Thiago Silva, David Luiz and Daniel Agger.

Silva was close to joining the Catalans, but in the end he signed a new contract with PSG. 

Then Chelsea said Luiz isn't for sale and Daniel Agger showed what loyalty means and stayed with Liverpool.

In the end, Barca have Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol, Javier Mascherano and Marc Bartra.

Pique is first-choice and the question is- who should be his partner?

All of the three defenders is good enough to be in the Starting XI week-in-week-out, but each one of them has his weaknesses.

Lets start with Puyol. Firstly, he is injury prone and currently he isn't fully-fit and secondly-he is getting older. The captain is 35 and age is a factor in football. He isn't the defender he was five years ago. He has worked hard in the fitness and we will see if he has got better.

Mascherano. the Argentine defender is inconsistent. If he has a good day, he can hardly be passed and he won't make a mistake, but in the next game he can be playing as defender from League One.

Marc Bartra - well he is still too young and doesn't have the confidence he needs to have to be in the Starting XI. Yes, he will probably be a first-choice alongside Pique in a few years time, but for now he should be playing around 15-20 games as a starter.

So the defence is looking quite good and as always the academy is providing fresh blood for the first team.

Cristian Tello, Marc Bartra, Gerard Deulofeu, Martin Montoya and Sergi Roberto are the latest graduates of the Blaugrana academy.

With the arrival of Neymar, Barca's squad is looking quite well. With Carles Puyol, Xavi, Victor Valdes, Dani Alves and Jose Pinto aged 30 or more and only Puyol, Xavi and Alves are field players.

Barcelona is still the force we all know. Only a few touches are needed and Barca will be back, winning the big trophies.

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Topics:
Lionel Messi
Football
Neymar
Gerard Pique
Barcelona

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