I want to use today's article to highlight the work these 'background' players do for us.
Being a Barca keeper has never been an easy job. With most of the team's focus put into attacking and goalscoring, defending our own goal has historically been tricky, as most of our rival's chances end up being one-on-ones or easy one-touch shots. If Casillas is (arguably) perfect for Spain, El Gato Valdes is the best keeper The Blaugranas could ever wish for.
Before signing for Barca from Sevilla back in the summer of 2008, El Moto GP had offers from Real Madrid, the Premiership and Serie A. He ignored those as his only wish was following other legendary Brazilian's footsteps to the Camp Nou.
What a great choice that was, Dani! In football, the best compliment a professional can get is fans noticing your absence whenever you're not playing. Let's be clear: If Barca is where we are today, it's thanks to Alves' constant attacking runs from the right wing, the way he always offers Xavi an alternative to open the field, his deadly combinations with Messi.
In short, Dani Alves is the very essence of Guardiola's Barca.
I am fully aware people who support other clubs mostly hate Sergio Busquets, aka The Catalan Octopus. I have to admit I see where they're coming from, with our creative midfielder being constantly fouled, then falling to the ground. To those envious haters I say: If you don't want Sergio to receive a free-kick, don't foul him. Simple.
Busquets influence in the Barca formation is immense. He has the classic La Masia touch, the patience, the passing criteria. He knows where all his teammates are before even looking. What makes him special isn't that though: It's the way he never gives a fight up, his ability to steal crucial balls before our rivals start building their counterattacks, how he protects possession and always seems to find a way to connect with Xavi and Iniesta for them to step into their more incisive attacking positions.
In a season were Puyol has mostly found it hard to recover his full fitness and Pique's form has been irregular, Muscle Masche has been the key to Barca's defensive line.
Having landed at the Camp Nou as a defensive midfielder who was meant to fight Busquets for a spot in the team, it turns out that El Jefe has actually established his place further back on the pitch, solving Guardiola's tricky defensive puzzle - Fontas unfortunate injury didn't help our coach either!
OK, I think that's all from me today. I know there are many other 'hidden' heroes at Barca right now, but I want YOU to sing their praises by leaving a comment below. If you're reading these lines, it's because you are a Barca lover and surely you can add your unique knowledge to the topic.
I'd love to read what you have to say!!!
CAN YOU THINK of other heroes I didn't mention? Please leave a comment below : )