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Barcelona: Has Sergi Roberto Become One of Luis Enrique's Untouchables

Published by Bleacher Report on Sun, 01 Nov 2015

Barcelona's Sergi Roberto is having the time of his life in Catalonia at present.Another sparkling performance for the youngster, this time against Getafe, means a fair share of the plaudits will rightly come his way after the match.Neymar and Luis Suarez will likely grab the headlines, but it was this most patient of La Masia graduates who made things happen. Again.Has there been a better assist anywhere this season than Roberto's first for Suarez' A no-look backheel volley straight into the path of the Uruguayan hot-shot.Then a pinpoint cross laid on a plate for the Brazilian to take the game beyond their hosts.This is the player that Barcelona perhaps always hoped that Sergi Roberto would become but until a quirk of fate gave him an extended opportunity, there was precious little evidence of the youngster's remarkable skill set.Dani Alves' early-season injury saw Roberto fill in at right-back in a move that it would be fair to assume was a "make-do-and-mend" scenario at the time.But then something changed. A marked improvement in almost every area of his game over the period meant that Luis Enrique couldn't ignore his claims for a starting berth.A succession of other injuries across the board has meant a shift around for Roberto positionally, but he is really making it count when it matters now.To give some more perspective on just how well thought of he is at present, both Roberto and Andres Iniesta were back from injury against Getafe but Enrique plumped for the former rather than his captain in the starting role.It is a decision that should speak volumes.A decision that shows Barca are now starting to look toward the future, given that Roberto is eight years Iniesta's junior.Certainly, it's worth asking the question at this juncture as to whether Roberto is playing himself into that "untouchable" position that some Barca players have the luxury of enjoying'When playing at such a consistently high level there is no doubt that Roberto should be one of the first picks in the team.From a club perspective also, it finally appears that the Blaugrana have conquered the hoodoo that has beset them for the last eight years.Not since Sergio Busquets and Pedro Rodriguez has anyone from La Masia broken into the senior side and stayed there while making a sizeable contribution to the success of the team.Roberto's application was negligible prior to the 2015/16 campaign but anyone with a grasp of the nuances of the beautiful game can see that there has been a vast improvement.Luis Enrique deserves enormous credit for helping the player fulfil his potential, and the manager was fulsome in his praise during the post-match press conference:The youngster probably has Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal in his periphery and the two new signings will battle for places that Roberto has occupied with aplomb within a couple of months.Enrique would be a very brave man indeed to even consider dropping Roberto now, despite the political implications of not playing Turan and Vidal from the get-go in January.It's worth remembering too that it wasn't so long ago that Stoke City were making a concerted effort to take Roberto to the Midlands and the delights of the English Premier League.The Stoke Sentinel noted in the summer that:"It is understood that Roberto is keen to leave the Nou Camp in order to find regular first-team football, but Barcelona want to keep hold of him at least until January, having already lost Xavi this summer and with their transfer ban still intact."After another gold standard performance it will be a lot longer than January before the Catalans consider any offers for one of their brightest prospects.
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