We're delighted to announce that Brazilian World Cup winner, Rivaldo, is the latest addition to our roster of football ambassadors, covering all things La Liga. In his first exclusive column, the Barcelona legend reflects on Neymar's replacement and looks ahead at the Super Cup clash with Real Madrid on Sunday...
"It was a tough decision for the Brazilian star and his main objective - beside the financial aspect, of course - is to become the best player in the world, leaving his status as Lionel Messi's shadow."
Neymar was an important piece but Barça will go on without him
So Neymar has left for PSG but, despite his importance to the team, I believe Barça will deal with it. It could even reinforce team spirit, showing that players can come and go, but Barça will stay at the top.
It was a tough decision for the Brazilian star and his main objective - beside the financial aspect, of course - is to become the best player in the world, leaving his status as Lionel Messi's shadow.
For Barcelona, it's an important financial income that allows them to breathe much easier and also to try new signings. Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho could be a good option to play at Neymar's position but former Spurs man Paulinho could also be an important addition at the centre of the pitch.
After his good work at Athletic Bilbao, Ernesto Valverde was Barça's choice for this season and the Spanish manager now has the kind of conditions and qualities to earn domestic and European titles in Catalonia.
But the pre-season focus on commercial factors doesn't make things easy for players and managers, and it tends take some more time for teams to get to full fitness. Trips, tours as well as promotional activities take vital time that could be used at the pitch, training and improving.
Spanish Super Cup - Expect a cautious approach in first El Clasico
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Although Barcelona are a shorter price for the home leg on Sunday evening, there is never really a 'favourite' for the El Clasico. You can see Real Madrid winning at Camp Nou or Barcelona doing the same at Bernabeu.
The teams' individual and collective qualities are huge and any of them could win away from home, so I consider this as a 180-minute game.
For the first leg, at Camp Nou, I believe in an obviously intense match like so many others "Barça vs Real" but the teams could not be as fresh as they wish, still trying to find their best physical and tactical form.
As a result, I'm pointing to a cautious approach from both teams that shouldn't be too interested in high intensity throughout the match, as many of his players are still far from their best shape, and playing at a high tempo could end up generating bad injuries.
In my opinion, this is going to be a match with few goals for the reasons I mentioned above. None of the teams will gamble with injuries and that could lead to a cautious match.
Back Under 3.5 Goals in Barcelona v Real Madrid @ [1.80]