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OPINION: Top 10 Barcelona Players of the 2023-24 Season: Ratings and Highlights

OPINION: Top 10 Barcelona Players of the 2023-24 Season: Ratings and Highlights

Kai Iliev Kai Iliev

Barcelona’s season has been full of ups and downs. Xavi announced he would leave in the summer at the start of the 2024 calendar year, and in a normal scenario, this would mark the end of the drama. 

However, the Catalan legend changed his mind and decided to stay. Tensions are now higher than ever, with the media continuing to fan the flames of the drama unfolding for all to see.

Tensions in the dressing room have also been noticeable, particularly between the experienced Ilkay Gündogan and Uruguayan defender Ronald Araújo. Nonetheless, the question arises: who were the standout performers of the season?

10. Marc-André Ter Stegen

Ter Stegen is by far one of the most criticized players, and he deserves it. But despite several blunders, the German remains in the race for the Zamora prize, awarded to the best goalkeeper of the season in La Liga

Barcelona did keep more than a few clean sheets, and as such, Ter Stegen deserves special mention. Despite working with a sometimes dysfunctional team, he kept his mouth shut and focused on his game. An attitude more players should have.

9. Frenkie de Jong

This might be an unpopular opinion, but Frenkie de Jong made the top ten for Barcelona this season. It was far from a perfect season for him, as he was often shuffled into different positions. Initially, he was supposed to form a double pivot with Romeu, but injuries and other circumstances prevented that. 

Nonetheless, his impact is undeniable – when he is not on the pitch, Barcelona struggles to move the ball forward. His athleticism and his courage set him apart from other players. However, much more is expected from him, especially considering his salary bracket.

8. Fermin Lopez

Yet another revelation this season. Lopez might not be as young as the other wonder kids, but his contributions, in terms of goals from the midfield, have been unparalleled. 

While he might not be the best individually, Xavi had long been missing this crucial puzzle piece. He will likely secure a prominent role next season despite the fierce competition, a position nobody expected him to be in a year ago. When Pedri and Frenkie de Jong were sidelined, he stepped up and became the star.

7. Robert Lewandowski

The Pole is not the most popular player in Barcelona at the moment, but despite missing a good amount of opportunities, he remains among the top scorers in La Liga. 

Although his first season was catastrophic, he found his form in the second half. Despite all the criticism he is facing, he remains the major source of goals for the Catalans. 

Barcelona should slowly transition away from relying on Lewandowski, but it is tough to exclude him from the top ten given his goal contributions, while the club has failed to integrate Roque.

6. Jules Koundé

While there has been toxicity around the French defender’s potential return as a center-back, Jules Koundé’s performances at right-back have rarely been discussed. 

However, he has remained one of Barcelona’s only reliable defenders alongside Cubarsí when the rest of the backline faltered.  

Koundé defends well, but most importantly, he has also improved his contributions in the attacking third – one of the major critiques in his past seasons. Despite rarely receiving accolades on social media, he most definitely deserves them.

5.  Pau Cubarsí

Alongside Lamine Yamal, Pau Cubarsí has been one of the biggest revelations of the season. Though primarily a right center-back, he has often played on the left as well. Many of Barcelona’s offensive transitions start with Cubarsí’s progressive passes into midfield.

Attackers and midfielders who excel at a young age are not uncommon, but this is rarely the case for young defenders.

Cubarsí is excellent with the ball at his feet, but his threat-prevention is what sets him apart. He does not tend to fold when facing physically dominant attackers like Osimhen, for example – which is a wonder given that this is his first season at the top flight. While it might sound early, Barcelona should consider building around this young talent. 

4. Pedri

Injuries have limited Pedri’s appearances, but against Rayo Vallecano the midfielder showed yet again why he is a fan favourite. Everything he does is so effortless – the only thing missing is his playing minutes. 

There is a world with and without Pedri, and Barcelona tends to struggle with the latter. Every time he comes back on the pitch, the Spaniard only needs a few touches to showcase his magic. 

Barcelona struggles to find its optimal tempo without the young midfielder, who is able to display his class in a few touches. Elegance, but most importantly, progress: Pedri embodies everything Barcelona currently lacks.

3. Ilkay Gündogan

A treble-winner with Manchester City, the German midfielder is a true Swiss Army knife, and a lot was expected of the superstar when he arrived at Barcelona. 

Despite some cultural adjustments, Gündogan has proven his worth. He constantly drives the team to strive for better and aim higher. 

His hunger and ambition are rare for a player who has already won everything, and he has undoubtedly been a positive influence in the dressing room.

2. Raphinha

The Brazilian forward has often been criticized for lacking the so-called jogo bonito and for his perceived lack of dribbles.

However, the ex-Leeds forward has shown that his presence counts, scoring in important fixtures and hitting double figures on the scoresheet. Without a doubt, he has been Barcelona’s best forward and is a player the club should look to retain ahead of the summer transfer window.

1. Lamine Yamal

All eyes are set on the underage prodigy Lamine Yamal. His season was better than many players older than him, and he isn’t even eighteen yet. He continues to impress game after game, drawing attention with his unique playstyle. 

Besides growing in skill, the young man has also grown physically, becoming taller and stronger. 

He has already played twenty games for the Catalan club, dividing opinions about his game time. Regardless, he is by far the brightest talent Barcelona have at their disposal – he is here to stay.

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