Spain

Barcelona hoping new signing can break free-kick drought since Lionel Messi left

Xavi Hernandez clearly trusts new signing Marcos Alonso as much, if not more, than any of his other options at left-back. The Spanish international played the closing stages of Barcelona’s win against Cadiz last weekend, his first minutes for the club, and was immediately thrown in against Bayern Munich in midweek.

The Blaugrana are also hoping that he can solve a chronic issue. As highlighted by Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona have now gone 503 days since they scored directly from a free-kick.

The Argentine scored against Valencia in 3-2 win on the 2nd of May 2021 and despite Messi having left for Paris Saint-Germain more than a season ago, Barcelona are yet to manage it since.

Across last season and the beginning of this one, Miralem Pjanic, Memphis Depay, Jordi Alba, Dani Alves, Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati have all tried their luck without success. Against Bayern on Tuesday, it was Robert Lewandowski who took on the responsibility, but his effort went into the wall.

Alonso is a renowned set-piece specialist and has scored six free-kicks over the course of his career. Xavi will be hoping he can resolve the issue as it makes conceding fouls in dangerous positions an easy alternative for the opposition.