Former Manchester United great, Paul Scholes, insists the current Barcelona side looks ‘boring’ and like a ‘ghost’ of Pep Guardiola’s successful side.
Scholes, who lost two Champions league finals against Pep’s side, argues the Catalan giants have lost their urgency and drive.
“When they were at their best, playing against Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona could be a soul-destroying experience, and I should know: I played in two Champions League finals against them and lost both times,” he explained in his Independent column.
“It was not only the fact that we lost a European Cup final, although that still hurts, it was also that at times you did not feel you were in a position to do the things that came naturally as a Manchester United footballer. By that I mean having plenty of the possession, setting the tempo and controlling the match. When you played Barcelona, they did all that themselves.
“In that era Barcelona were special. They were undoubtedly the best team in the world and so I was interested to see them in person this season with that attacking combination of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar. I went to see them play away at the Mestalla on Sunday with my old team-mate Phil Neville.
“I watch Barça as much as I can on television, and this was just a snapshot of their season so far, but for much of the game I felt they were a ghost of the side they had once been.
“They still pass the ball relentlessly, but that old drive and tempo are not nearly as urgent. The breathtaking speed and penetration have gone. They won the game in injury time but even in those final stages they hardly created chances.
“When I try to find a way of summarising the attitude of the team, and of some longer-serving individuals, I keep alighting on the word “bored”.
“Watching Barcelona, albeit just one game, I felt the era of the great team Guardiola built was coming to an end. That does not mean some of those players will not go on to be part of another great side, just that they need to find another way of playing. The game moves on and Real Madrid and Bayern Munich have found new ways of playing, especially against Barcelona.”
Barcelona sit second in La Liga, only two points behind Real Madrid, and have already qualified for the Champions League knockout stages.
Do you think the current Barcelona are a ghost of their former side? Have your say in the comment section below.