El Clasico 2018/19: 4 Players who could start in Messi's position for Barcelona
Lionel Messi picked up an injury during the LaLiga match against Seville FC on 20th of October that has ruled him out of contention when Barcelona host Real Madrid at the Camp Nou this weekend. It is a big blow for football lovers worldwide, who were hoping to see Messi sizzle once again in the encounter which has been one of his favourites.
The departure of Cristiano Ronaldo at the start of the season meant that the El Clasico had already lost a bit of its charm, yet Messi's absence will be a big headache for Valverde too, ahead of the crucial game.
Messi has so far scored 7 goals and registered 5 assists in the 9 LaLiga games he has appeared in. The Barcelona Skipper was in hot form before fracturing his forearm and he has been orchestrating the proceeding for Barcelona as usual. As such, his absence means that Barcelona lose quite a bit of their attacking edge and that the Real Madrid defence can breathe easy now.
However, even in his absence, Barcelona do have a few options to choose from to play in that trademark right attacking position. While it is true that emulating the attacking prowess and the ability to affect games of the Argentinean maestro is impossible, Valverde can call upon a few talents who could be effective against Real Madrid. As such, we look at the 4 players who could start in Messi's position in the El Classico this weekend.
The Brazilian joined Barcelona this summer from Bordeaux, on the back of a fantastic season in the Ligue 1. Last season, Malcolm scored 12 goals and registered 8 assists from 38 games in all competitions and was so impressive that he drew the attention of Arsenal and Roma, however, Barcelona dived in at the last moment and got their man. It was supposed to be a fantastic signing, but for the Brazilian, life in Spain has been anything but rosy so far.
Malcolm has played just 25 minutes in the LaLiga this season. He has been on the bench twice and has two substitute appearances so far, 6 minutes against Valladolid and 19 minutes against Leganes.
Technically, the Brazilian is the ideal player to come in for Messi. He is fast, he is full of energy and skills and he likes to cut in from the right and shoot. While he is nowhere near the finished material yet, Valverde could take a risk and give Malcolm a chance to impress against Real Madrid at home.