Rivaldo Exclusive: It's too early to judge Quique Setien's Barcelona

Barcelona boss Quique Setien
Setien's system could yet work for Barca

Betfair Ambassador Rivaldo discusses Barcelona's return to action, the futures of Antoine Griezmann and Thiago Silva, and the Champions League Final Eight...

"Griezmann is a great player with lots of quality and just needs to find the goals to recover the confidence he showed at Atleti. It wasn’t for nothing that Barcelona paid his release clause."

Barcelona beat Leganes 2-0 last night but they didn't produce a great performance and many are still sceptical about Quique Setien's new system. I think it's difficult to pass judgement after just two matches post-lockdown.

We need to wait a few more weeks to see how the team evolves. It's understandable that their rhythm and intensity isn't at its peak yet as they were a lot of time without playing or training. There are players returning from injuries and others still looking to be fit, so we must give them some more time before deciding if Setien's system can truly work in the long run.

At the moment, and while the quality of play is not yet at his best, the most important thing is for Barcelona to continue grabbing wins, to keep the leadership of La Liga ahead of Real Madrid and put pressure on them.

Griezmann can shed 'new Coutinho' tag with improved performances

Barça have won both their games since the restart, with Antoine Griezmann as a starter, but he continues to be far from the player he was at Atletico Madrid and some are wondering if he may become a 'new Coutinho' at Barcelona.

It's a harsh to start making those comparisons, but it's up to the player to prove it on the pitch. The lack of goals is demotivating and damages Griezmann's confidence, so I believe it's important for Lionel Messi to help him. Messi could, for example, let Griezmann take penalties when Barcelona are winning comfortably - just to get the Frenchman scoring - just like he did with Luis Suárez in the past.


Griezmann is a great player with lots of quality and just needs to find the goals to recover the confidence he showed at Atleti. It wasn't for nothing that Barcelona paid his release clause and I'm convinced that it is all a matter of confidence that soon will be solved when the goals finally flow.

Setien should have had courage to rest Messi

Barcelona won their first two matches after the lockdown with some ease, but Messi - who was coming back from recent physical issues - played 90 minutes on both occasions.

As I always say, a player wants to be on the pitch all the time and it isn't easy telling Messi to come off. As a player, I always wanted to be on the pitch and didn't like to be spared by my managers.

But the manager needs to be brave enough to remove Messi from the pitch if he feels that is the best for the team and the player, especially when there are more difficult matches coming up.

Messi always wants to play more, score more goals and fight for another Ballon D'or, so he won't volunteer to come off. The manager needs to make the call.

Messi will break Pelé's record

According to the Spanish press, Messi is just 15 away from reaching Pelé's goals record for the number of goals scored for a single club.

It would be an historic achievement for the player and certainly important for him and his career. I don't think he is too anxious about it or looking to reach it quickly because this is something that will inevitably happen sooner or later. He is very close and still has more seasons of football at the highest level left, so he will break this record.

For now, he needs to focus on winning La Liga as the goals record will come naturally yet this season or in the next.

PSG's goal is winning Champions League

Leonardo, PSG sports director, recently mentioned that he wants to keep Neymar and Kylian Mbappe for another season and I understand that because the club are aiming to win the Champions League soon. To achieve that they must hold on to their best players.


PSG are dominant in France and wins domestic competitions very easily, so they want to keep their best players to take a step forward and claim the Champions League trophy. It's the dream of every European club, especially one with as much money and ambition as PSG.

Thiago Silva can play for another top club

Leonardo has also announced that Thiago Silva will leave the club in the summer and there are rumours indicating that the 35-year old player might be considering a return to Brazil and his former team Fluminense.

That would be a mistake. Thiago Silva is still good enough to play for any big club, so he should stick around in Europe before returning to Brazil to end his career.

Champions Final Eight format could be very entertaining

It seems that UEFA will soon announce a Champions League Final Eight in Lisbon and I think that's a good way to finish this year's tournament in the circumstances. Of course, if everything gets back to normal next season, the previous format should return.

With this new format all clubs will be in equal circumstances playing single matches at a neutral venue and all will be in with a chance of winning the competition. There will be no home advantage, and all the competitors will be even when they walk out on the pitch.

It will be a new way to find the European champion, but I believe watching it will be as entertaining and emotional as the latter stages of the Champions League usually are.

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