Everyone at the moment is busy thinking who should become the team’s next manager, but that question is less and less important when Barcelona have the kind of attack they currently possess, and above everyone else are Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta.
There are plenty of good and talented players we might be omitting and forgetting when we mention only these two, but until Neymar plays his first match for a European club, we’ll leave him out of this discussion. The special ones, the unique ones, who give Barcelona the biggest advantage, are the 2012 European player of the year and the Ballon d’Or winner. By miles.
Sometimes, all a head coach needs to do is not to interfere too much. Sure, there’s a system to follow, which begins at a young age for Barcelona players, but things do change a bit for these players on the senior team. We saw last season who things went quite difficult for Barcelona with Jordi Roura on the sideline. Even with the most talented players on earth, some ingenuity and influence from the sidelines need to be brought.
And just like Barcelona haven’t brought over a world class centre back to finally put them back to where they were two years ago in terms of European dominance (Neymar coming over is a signing that strengthens them in terms of their La Liga chances, not so much when it comes to the Champions League), bringing in the perfect replacement for Vilanova isn’t a must, and maybe impossible.
Because Vilanova himself was an heir to Guardiola, but Barcelona had more time to prepare for that one. It’s weird to think that after last year and the health risks Vilanova has been carrying with him, a solution wasn’t in works earlier.
But not grooming a successor from within isn’t going to decide whether or not Barcelona win the championship next season. It’s going to be a lot more about Lionel Messi keeping up the insane level of quality and scoring rate from the last few years uninterrupted, while Andres Iniesta takes more and more control over the Barcelona midfield, as Xavi can no longer hide the fact that he’s getting older.
A great Messi, Iniesta and Neymar should be enough to keep the dominance in the Spanish La Liga going. For the Champions League? You need a more complete and all-around solid product for that, which Barcelona, at the moment, don’t have. Not without a manager, and not without filling in certain needs they have in their team, which is more than just a centre back they’ve been missing for the last couple of years.
Then again, just how wrong things can get? Not that much. Not if Messi and Iniesta stay healthy. Barcelona don’t run on automatic, but the team has gelled and meshed well enough over the last few years to make up for a “rookie” head coach, just like it did last season with an incredible start to the season. Barcelona might still be in this phase of struggling to cope with another manager leaving during their shattered dominance on the European stage being slowly put back together again, but with players like Messi and Iniesta, it shouldn’t be that big of a problem.