Sergi Roberto: From Bench to Being Essential

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At this stage of the season last year, no one at FC Barcelona could have imagined that Sergio Roberto would become a key player for Luis Enrique only the following season. A few years have gone past since the incumbent Bayern Munich coach, Pep Guardiola, handed him play in a Copa del Rey clash against Ceuta, but Roberto has had to wait patiently until he finally had the chance to shine

There was a lot of excitement among the Catalan supporters when Sergio made his debut with the team in the 2010/2011 season. Unfortunately for him, as the months went by, that excitement turned into deception and every summer there were rumours about him leaving the club.

Last season, when Luis Enrique arrived, Roberto saw the situation repeating itself yet again as the coach didn’t seem to have much confidence in him. However, things drastically changed last summer, when Barça had to cope with a string of injuries at the start of the league. Facing a tight situation, Luis Enrique made a brave decision to make him play as a right-back, and the 23-year-old responded in an impressive manner.

Since then, he has played both in defense and in midfield, his original position. This has been an enormous change for him, as last season he only played 12 games in La Liga while now he has already taken part in 10 of the 12 matchesBarça have played so far. Now Roberto has already accumulated 835 minutes of play while in the 2014/2015 season he only managed to play 507 minutes.

The question now is whether he should make his international debut with Spain. He has in fact played for the under-21 national side, but Del Bosque has not taken him into consideration so far. The coach should indeed start to think seriously about that possibility as not a lot of players are as versatile as him, and counting with a player like Roberto for the EURO 2016 is an intriguing possibility.

In a long tournament, it is vital to have players who maintain a high standard of performance regardless of the position, and Sergio is surely from such a lot.

Before that moment arrives, Roberto has a big challenge ahead of him as both Aleix Vidal, defender, and ArdaTuran, midfielder, will be allowed to play for Barça after the expiry of the ban club has faced.

Apparently, this is not good news for Roberto, but this will provide him an opportunity to show both Luis Enrique and the fans that he is no longer an alternative for the team when someone is missing, but a key player in the squad. In Barcelona’s 0-4 victory over Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu, Sergi Roberto already showed off his best version and proved the world that he will be the man to watch in the years to come.

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