Football

Barcelona: 3 success stories from their 2014/15 campaign

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Unlike their eternal rivals Real Madrid, Barcelona have enjoyed a magnificent campaign under the stewardship of Luis Enrique.

Nine months ago questions were raised as to the manager's suitability for the post. Just being ex-Barca didn't really cut it, given that for all intents and purposes he hadn't really cut the mustard at AS Roma and had been ok but unspectacular at Celta Vigo.

Those worries seem a long time ago now as Barca stand on the cusp of a league and cup double, and potentially even a treble.

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Who'd have thought that when the Catalans were losing away at Real Sociedad at the beginning of the season, when Real were basking in having just won the Club World Cup and winning 22 games on the bounce.

But it's a marathon not a sprint, or so we are routinely told.

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Without further ado, let's take a look at three reasons why Barca had such a good 2014/15...

Pique's re-emergence

Not that Gerard Pique ever went away you understand. No, Pique has been a fixture for the last few years but not since 2009 has he played like this and been as important for the team. A sticky start saw him fall out with Enrique and being benched was obviously not to his liking.

However, he came back strong and those commentators that said he was never the same player without Carles Puyol alongside have been made to eat their words. Pique has been absolutely magnificent and one of the chief reasons why Barca only conceded 21 goals in the league season.

It's as if his Barca career depended on it...

Bravo, Bravo

When Victor Valdes left Barcelona at the end of last season there were genuine worries that the club wouldn't be able to secure another high-class custodian for this campaign. The arrivals of both Claudio Bravo and Marc-Andre ter Stegen weren't exactly met with unbridled joy. Indeed the signings of the pair barely raised a whimper.

It wasn't long before supporters realised that they had not one, but two, world-class 'keepers and over the course of the season both have excelled between the posts. At a combined total spend of €24 million, the Blaugrana seemingly have themselves a bargain or two.

Enrique's only challenge is to keep both happy during the 2015/16 tenure. Ter Stegen in particular has already voiced his concerns at being seen as Barca's "cup keeper."

Messi or Enrique?

Who takes the overall credit for this one, Lionel Messi or Enrique?

A highly publicised row at the turn of the year really saw things change. Allegedly led by Messi, the squad told the manager in no uncertain terms that they were unhappy with his rotations and some part of his man-management skills.

Was Lucho's insistence that things were done his way the catalyst for success or did he in fact accept that Messi is the king pin in the dressing room and learn to manage the group more effectively?

Either way, both appeared to bury their differences for the greater good with Barca the winners.

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Topics:
Football
La Liga
Lionel Messi
Barcelona

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