Barcelona’s best and worst players in Real Madrid pre-season friendly

After three decades at the club, Xavi Hernandez knows how to handle the wild reactions that Barcelona’s results can inspire.

Johan Cruyff called the noise that constantly swirled around the club ‘entorno’. Xavi pre-emptively tried to quell the storm that he could see coming after his side recorded a 3-0 pre-season friendly victory over Real Madrid on Saturday.

“We know how it goes,” the Barcelona manager said, “one day we are a disaster and today we are the best club in the world, that’s the Barça environment and that’s who we are as culers [fans]. Neither one thing nor the other, we’ve had some good moments but we need to be better.”

Here are Barcelona’s best and worst players from their Clasico victory who, by Xavi’s logic, are the darlings and demons of the club’s fanbase – until the next game at least.

Fermin Lopez

Fermin Lopez

Fermin Lopez is yet to make a competitive appearance for the senior side / Matthew Ashton – AMA/GettyImages

Fermin Lopez was only on the pitch for 24 minutes, about the typical length of a sitcom episode, but put on a show for the Texan crowd.

Pedri singled out the academy player for praise at the start of pre-season. After thumping a swerving effort past Thibaut Courtois from 30 yards to double Barcelona’s lead in the second half before teeing Ferran Torres up for the game’s third and final goal, there is no shortage of adulation for Lopez.

Unsurprisingly, Xavi confirmed after the contest that Lopez would be part of the senior squad for the 2023/24 season.

Honourable mention

Frenkie de Jong

Frenkie de Jong spent last year’s pre-season being deliberately played out of position in the hope that he would accept Manchester United’s multiple advances. This summer, De Jong is filling the void left by departing icon Sergio Busquets.

The Dutchman will be going nowhere anytime soon if he can replicate the composure and control which he exerted as one of Barcelona’s withdrawn midfielders against Real Madrid. A needlessly forceful slide tackle straight through the back of Eder Militao will no doubt have endeared De Jong to Barcelona’s fickle fans.


Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski struggled to make an impression in the Texas Clasico / Omar Vega/GettyImages

Robert Lewandowski was out of sync long before the Clasico kicked off. The 34-year-old striker harked back to 2016 with an awkward dab as part of the pre-match media buildup and never really returned to the present day on the pitch.

On a night when Courtois was not at his best, Lewandowski failed to force Real Madrid’s goalkeeper into a single save. Last term’s La Liga top scorer still has plenty of rust to shed this pre-season.

Dishonourable mention

Ronald Araujo

Xavi’s not-so-secret weapon for matches against Real Madrid has been to shift Ronald Araujo out to right-back so he can forcefully man-mark Vinicius Junior. This ploy worked for several Clasicos but in recent editions, the Brazilian trickster has found a way past his fellow South American.

As Vinicius darted across his periphery vision towards the near post, Araujo drastically misjudged Federico Valverde’s first-half cross. Stooping to head the ball, Araujo watched as it whizzed past his eyebrows and onto his forearm.

Vinicius may have missed the subsequent spot kick but that didn’t erase Araujo’s error.


On this week’s edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Toby Cudworth is joined by Graeme Bailey to discuss the next steps in Bayern Munich’s Harry Kane hunt, Brighton rejecting another Chelsea bid for Moises Caicedo, who has had the most impressive transfer window so far & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button