Since the transfer saga of the summer with Lionel Messi trying to leave Barcelona, the Catalan side have found a new favourite among the fan base.
Youngster Ansu Fati has established himself as a senior player at the age of just 17 years old and is a regular under new manager Ronald Koeman, scoring five goals in ten games so far this season.
He had been one of the better performing players for the club during this tumultuous time but his season has been cut in half after he suffered a meniscus tear in his knee and was ruled out for four months following successful surgery.
With Fati out until the new year Barcelona need to turn their begging hands back to the king of the Camp Nou, Lionel Messi.
Messi has looked disinterested for the most part this season following his public falling out with the club in the summer but has still be a regular in the team – because, well, he’s Messi.
Despite the disinterest, Messi has six goals in his ten appearances this season although only one of those goals has come from open play and the other five from the penalty spot. He’s turned in lacklustre performances for the most part, with moments of brilliance still enough to catch the eye and win Barcelona points.
He’s seemingly begun the process of passing the torch on to Fati, with his relationship with the youngster on and off the pitch brought to light more and more this season.
As much as Barcelona will now miss Fati’s brilliance, what they need more than anything to get their season on track is for Lionel Messi to at least start pretending he wants to be there.
Antoine Griezmann has struggled so far during this campaign, Phillipe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele have done well when he’s played and youngsters Pedri and Trincao have been hit and miss as you’d expect from regular teenagers. Even with Messi not caring, he is top of their goals and assists chart for the season so far.
He needs to step it up a level and start bringing others levels up with him as he has done for the last few years. Barcelona are currently in 8th place in La Liga and have already lost to fierce rivals Real Madrid during the season, although they have won three out of three group games in the Champions League.
They are desperate for a leader to grab them by the scruff of the neck and drag them up to the level they’re supposed to be at and there is no level higher than Messi’s.
Barcelona need to find a way to motivate the greatest player of all time to show one more time that he is exactly that. Messi is their shining light once again until Fati returns – the problem they have is if he doesn’t feel like turning up anymore then they’re in trouble.