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The three most versatile players at Barcelona

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Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

The quality of being a versatile player is sometimes left unappreciated.

Take Liverpool’s James Milner, for that matter. The old-school England midfielder/defender has been so vital to Liverpool’s success under Jurgen Klopp, but his favoured position is still pretty much misunderstood.

Managers love that one particular quality mostly because players like Milner are a perfect contingency plan, as they can be utilized in case of an injury or absence of a first-team regular. Maybe this is why athletes with such qualities are also called ‘utility players’.

As for Barcelona, they have seen their fair share of players who have been used across multiple positions. The legendary Joan Cruff, for instance, was a mastermind number 10, but he also excelled as a striker and even a winger.

Javier Mascherano, on the other hand, played across all defensive positions and also had the ability to dictate the game from the middle. Furthermore, as we speak of the current roster, the Blaugrana do have a few such players, and here we look at each one of them.

Sergi Roberto

The old-school Sergi Roberto is a prime example of players with different skill sets. In fact, it is his quality of being versatile that has allowed him to be a cule for another season running.

In any way, it must be noted that during the 2015-16 football season, Roberto played in as many as seven different positions under former manager Luis Enrique.

“In a team like ours, except in goal, he could play in any position, it’s no surprise,” the current Spain coach once said of Roberto. 

“The most difficult thing is doing it well all over the field and Sergi Roberto does that,” he added.

Despite being 30 years old, Roberto can still occupy four different positions comfortably. This includes playing as a full-back (across both wings), occupying the defensive midfielder’s role, as well as being the box-to-box central midfielder.

Ferran Torres

“The young Valencian is versatile and a goalscorer, a player who can play anywhere up-front,” read an excerpt from Barcelona’s official website when they profiled the former Manchester City attacker in March.

During his brief Man City tenure, Ferran Torres was used across four different positions, namely as a centre-forward, right winger, left winger and even as an attacking midfielder. 

The 22-year-old brought his versatility to Camp Nou in January 2022, and Xavi has put his services to great use across all three attacking channels. However, it must be remembered that he has particularly excelled as a left winger, from where he has managed to score six goals and three assists in 18 outings to date.

Ousmane Dembele

Ever since bursting onto the scenes in November 2015, young forward Ousmane Dembele has played across five different positions. This includes playing at his preferred right-wing position, being deployed as a left-winger, attacking midfielder, centre-forward and even playing as a right midfielder.

Of the mentioned five positions, Dembele has been used across four spots at Barcelona, but it is as a right winger that the Frenchman has managed to use the best of his capabilities, scoring nine goals and providing 23 assists from the position.

And now that Barcelona only have one centre-forward in Robert Lewandowski this season, Dembele’s quality of occupying that position will come in handy for the team.

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