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Dec 4, 2015

Apart from the jaw dropping thumping displayed by Barca players at the Santiago Bernebeu, this season's first Clasico delivered an even greater joy to fans - the return of Lionel Messi. After his return, he has already played two full matches - scoring three goals and assisting one. His hunger is mostly understandable especially when you return to action after almost a two month break. There also is a matter of personal pride, especially with Neymar and Saurez guiding the team brilliantly in his absence. Some people, mostly critics questioned whether Messi's return could complicate things for Barca and Luis Enrique. Messi in the last two matches defined why his return will elevate the team to another level and also showed that class which separated him from a brilliantly performing Neymar and Saurez.

Even though losing a mercurial player like Messi is extremely hurtful for the team's chances; Luis Enrique would have loved the situation he is currently in. Messi is yet to regain full match fitness and form, but whatever we have seen in last two matches clearly indicates he will be in full form within couple of matches. To an extent, it all seems like last season when Messi had his problems approaching the winter break and exploded after that (courtesy of a Xavi Rant). In contrast Neymar faded after the break. In that context, Luis Enrique would be thanking heaven for giving his star player enough time to recover from a small summer break. As a coach what else you want? Your team firmly sits on top, the star player has returned and looks like hitting top form soon, other mercurial players are doing well. The list goes on…

The much awaited Winter break is always a boon for players. They get to relax, take a bit of time off but still have to ensure that they are in top shape returning back to the game. As a result, training and nutritional requirements can often resemble that of pre-season activity, and footballers often take it upon themselves to ensure they are in top shape by picking up their own sports supplementations such as the Optimum Nutrition products available at Supps R Us. This season, the winter break for Barca could be quite tricky. This season, it’s a bit shortened winter break and just before the break we have to travel to Japan for the Club World Cup.

The chances of a burn out is high especially with the additional two matches scheduled for Club World Cup, a shortened winter break etc. And always there is a worry whether the team has primed too early in the season. The return of Lionel Messi in that case is a huge boost and advantage. By the time we have reached Japan, he could be in top form and an additional 9 day break should once again rejuvenate him. Going by our past season's record, Messi is the most relied upon player when it comes to January and early February. A well-rested, rejuvenated Lionel Messi is the best thing that Luis Enrique can ask for in such a situation.

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