5 players who have benefited from Lionel Messi’s Barcelona departure

It was the end of an era at Barcelona last summer as Lionel Messi finally bid farewell to the iconic Camp Nou stadium after 21 historic years. The Argentine ended up joining PSG, signing a two-year contract with the Parisians that will keep him at the Parc des Princes until the summer of 2023.

A lot has happened at Barcelona since Lionel Messi’s departure. A drop in the level of performance, revenue, and fan activity are some of the negatives. On the other hand, the Blaugrana are now rebuilding a new generation of bright talents with a lot of promise for the future.

In the same vein, they also have a couple of players who have had opportunities come their way in the absence of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner. While some of these players have seized the chance to announce themselves to the world, others are gradually raising their level of performance.

That said, let’s quickly discuss five Barcelona stars who have benefited from Lionel Messi’s departure so far.

#5 Abde Ezzalzouli

With Lionel Messi gone and the likes of Ousmane Dembele, Ansu Fati, and Memphis Depay struggling with injuries following Xavi’s takeover, the tactician was short of options upfront.

Xavi decided to make a bold decision by summoning talents from the youth setup and Abde Ezzalzouli was one of the few players who got the shot. Despite his lack of experience, the youngster proved to the world that he can become a real monster on the flanks.

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He made 12 appearances for the Blaugrana across all competitions, recording one goal to his name. While Abde’s numbers may not be too impressive, his overall effort on the picth has been nothing short of brilliant. He constantly troubled opposition’s defense with his sheer pace, daring take-ons, and incredible dribbling skills.

#4 Ferran Jutgla

Similar to Abde, Xavi promoted Ferran Jutgla amid the shortage of options in attack and the attacker did quite well, justifying the tactician’s faith with a series of brilliant performances.

The 23-year-old played nine games with the senior team across all competitions, recording two goals to his name. Although he has returned to playing for the junior team, fans will definitely be eager to see him in action once again when the opportunity comes up.

#3 Ferran Torres

Barcelona completed the signing of Ferran Torres from Manchester City in December last year to bolster their attacking options, following the departure of Lionel Messi. The Spaniard joined the Blaugrana on a deal worth €55 million, committing to a five-year contract at Camp Nou.

The 22-year-old has made 11 appearances for the Blaugrana across all competitions so far this season, recording three goals and three assists to his name. Xavi is a big fan of the attacker as he personally requested his transfer.

The manager apparently has high hopes for Ferran Torres, seeing him as one of the young guns who will define the post-Lionel Messi era. The youngster is gradually blending into Barca’s system and it looks like he only needs time to repay the faith of his manager.

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#2 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

It goes without saying that Barcelona simply signed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang because they were desperately in need of a top-class striker who could score goals consistently. The fact that even Xavi once said that the Gabonese wouldn’t fit into the club’s system throws more weight behind this claim.

It is safe to believe that the Catalan giants wouldn’t have signed the former Arsenal striker if Lionel Messi was still at the club. Either way, the deal was struck in the Argentine’s absense and it has proven to be a masterstroke so far.

Since switching to Camp Nou this winter, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has made eight appearances in the Blaugrana colors, scoring five goals. Thanks to that effort, the striker has put every doubt about his usefulness to bed and is expected to play a vital role for the club going forward.

#1 Adama Traore

Another winter arrival, Adama Traore, returned to Barcelona from Wolves on a loan deal that included a purchase option set for the end of the campaign. Since joining the Catalan giants, the attacker has primarily featured in Lionel Messi’s favorite spot on the right flank.

It is needless to say that this wouldn’t have happened if the Argentine was still at the club. In fact, Traore’s chances of securing the transfer would’ve been almost non-existent in Leo’s presence.

Meanwhile, the former Wolves winger is proving to be a useful addition for Xavi. So far, he’s made eight appearances for the Blaugrana across all competitions, contributing one goal and five assists. It remains to be seen if he’ll continue going in that direction in the coming weeks.

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