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Hristo Stoichkov thinks Barcelona don’t need a ‘9’, but ‘players who make runs’

Alexandre Patanian

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Photo by DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images

After Mario Kempes, another former football legend shared his thoughts about Barça. Hristo Stoichkov, a part of Johan Cruyff’s dream team, knows what Barcelona need for them to play better than they did against Dynamo Kyiv.

The Bulgarian reckons his former team does not need a number ‘9’, unlike many other pundits. Stoichkov thinks Ronald Koeman should utilise his wingers more and tell players like Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembélé to run in behind. For the legend, if the wingers do not get behind the defence, regardless of the focus of the play, the team will be too static.

“Barcelona don’t even need a #9 in their style of play. If only Ansu and Dembele would be instructed to make runs in behind. It does not matter if they play centrally or not, but they have to make runs. Otherwise, everyone is just static.”

Hristo Stoichkov | TUDN (live on TV)

He followed it up by taking Samuel Eto’o’s example. The Cameroonian legend was a striker, but it did not mean that he would stick to the middle. Instead, the only player to win two trebles in a row would end up running wide to drag the defenders towards him. Stoichkov thinks showing videos of Eto’o’s movement is the best way for Dembélé and Fati to learn.

“At least they should show them videos of how Barcelona did before with players like Eto’o. He was the striker, but he didn’t necessarily play in the middle. In the end he would always end up running wide.”

Hristo Stoichkov | TUDN (live on TV)

Having been the winger of the late Johan Cruyff’s dream team, Stoichkov knows many things about running in behind and movement in football. The Bulgarian is one of the greatest players to ever play for Barça and a former teammate of Koeman’s. Perhaps, the Dutchman should listen to him…

As a Lebanese teenager who never had the chance to support their local team, I fell in love with the club that was FC Barcelona at the start of the decade. I always was passionate about writing and this is exactly what I am looking for: sharing my insights and opinions on football.

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Just in: Neymar’s entourage confirms renewal with PSG as he ‘likes the project’

Udhav Arora

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Photo via Imago

Fabrizio Romano has broken huge news as part of Neymar’s contract situation with Paris Saint-Germain, which all but officially announces that the Brazilian will be staying in France, contrary to what has been reported recently. The report suggests that that he will sign his extension soon, which is bound to include a massive UCL bonus.

Neymar’s entourage have confirmed his decision to stay with the Paris outfit in conversation with France Football, saying, “Neymar wants to stay at PSG. He sees that the club is growing. He likes the project.”

PSG have, in fact, actually enjoyed success in Europe in the recent past. They reached the Champions League final last season, crumbling only to the unstoppable Bayern Munich by a mere one goal to nil. Since then, they have fired Thomas Tuchel, and hired Mauricio Pochettino, who inspired an incredible victory against Bayern in this season’s Champions League quarters. Spearheaded by Neymar and Mbappe, the capital-side hit the defending champions for three goals, conceding two.

Despite their lead in the UCL, they do not have a stronghold on the trophy with the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, and Real Madrid still in the running. It becomes a lot more problematic when you realise their situation in Ligue 1.

PSG look far from comfortable in the league, which is a shocker to say the least. As it stands, Pochettino’s mean are in second place with 66 points, three adrift of Lille who top the table with one of the most impressive defensive records in Europe.

A season without either of the big trophies might force Neymar to have a change of mind, with the Barcelona project looking much more comprehensive under Joan Laporta. In fact, the new President might look at the Brazilian as the key that will allow Lionel Messi to stay at the club. We do the same rumours annually, so it is only fair if any of these ‘confirmations’ are turned on their head in the coming weeks.

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