FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) July 11, 2014
As Liverpool confirmed they had reached an agreement for the sale of Luis Suarez on Friday, it paved the way for an intriguing comparison between Barcelona’s new look front three, and that of their Spanish counterparts Real Madrid.
Suarez’s arrival at the Nou Camp brings a new element of potency and fear as the Uruguayan joins Lionel Messi and Neymar to make one of the best, if not the best attack in world football. The South American trio contain all the attributes to take the new season by storm and help rebuild after last season’s disappointing campaign.
The only strike force, certainly in Spain, that will be able to match that of Barcelona’s will be Real Madrid, who have Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale at their disposal. Similarly to Barca they possess a front line with pace, power and plenty of ability to change a match almost individually. But are they stronger than Barcelona’s new attack?
Last season combined saw Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale net 97 times in all competitions, with Ballon d’Or winning Ronaldo taking 51 of his own. Benzema, although continually doubted by some areas of the Madrid fan-base, grabbed 24, while Gareth Bale dealt well with the pressure as the world’s most expensive player to score 22 times.
It is tough to argue Ronaldo’s status as the best in the world judging on the last campaign, but choosing between him and Messi will always remain an undecided debate. Choosing from the two attacks comes down to a comparison of their supplements to their main man. Luis Suarez and Neymar, or Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale?
Suarez is yet to be tested in the Spanish league, but Barca’s enormous pitch will only exploit his ability to work well in space even further. He probably possesses more natural talent than Benzema as the front man, and has greater versatility than the Frenchman to bag goals from outside the box.
The World Cup, and particularly the way it ended for Neymar seems to have boosted his credentials as a footballer. Many have looked to Brazil’s 7-1 defeat to Germany as a result of Neymar’s absence, after the tournament’s poster boy impressed in the earlier stages. His prolific side is yet to be proved at club level with Barcelona, and many still doubt him as an A-list individual capable of carrying such a huge footballing club and country.
Then you have Gareth Bale, whose blistering pace and much improved goal tally in the last few seasons have seen him excel. When fully fit, he would be extremely difficult to leave out, as his attributes still seem unstoppable when running at a defender. He has proved himself better than Neymar in the pair’s opening season in La Liga, but probably falls short of Luis Suarez at the present time.
So Ronaldo, Messi and Suarez overall represent the best three of the six stellar attacking figures, but as to the question of Barcelona or Real Madrid’s front line? Barcelona edge it. On paper it says different, with Real’s star trio having scored ten more last season. It is certainly something the coming season will determine, with a tonne of class on show between these two giants.
Goals in the 2013/14 season - All competitions
Lionel Messi- 41 Cristiano Ronaldo- 51
Luis Suarez- 31 Karim Benzema- 24
Neymar- 15 Gareth Bale- 22
Total- 87 Total- 97