The “butterfly effect” that Barcelona president Joan Laporta envisioned when he pawned pieces of the club’s future in order to immediately invest a couple of hundred million euros in transfer fees and salaries was that an isolated, unattractive football bot turns into a beautiful, colorful one. , everyone’s favorite creature. However, the brutal wounds sustained by Ronald Araujo and Jules Kunde while on international duty threaten infamous consequences: the flapping of even the smallest insect wings at the wrong time in the wrong place can lead to disastrous consequences. , ever-expanding implications.

The butterfly effect, sometimes also referred to as “chaos theory,” suggests that while literally the flapping of tiny, colorful wings cannot set off a storm on the other side of the planet, small events appear to be able to catalyze a chain reaction of things nonetheless. . make catastrophic errors in non-linear, complex systems.

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Do you see parallels with Barcelona now?

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Specifically, Barcelona have Gerard Piqué, Andreas Christensen, Marcos Alonso, Hector Bellerin, Eric Garcia and Frenkie de Jong to make up for an absence that is likely to last at least a month in the case of Kunde and until late December or early January for Araujo. who is going to have surgery. Most clubs would kneel in thanksgiving to have such resources at their disposal. Let’s clear this up. No one needs to take out the smallest violin in the world and play it, feigning sympathy for the Camp Nou club.

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However, in terms of causation, these injuries could definitely see Barcelona drop out of the Champions League in the group stage for the second year in a row (something they haven’t suffered in 21 years); The club thus lost up to €100 million in lost profits; derail their La Liga campaign by defeating the imminent Clasico against Real Madrid and damage to morale and form if the Champions League group gets out of control; severely damage Barcelona’s intended financial recovery (they recently announced a €98m profit for the 2021-22 campaign and projected another €271m for the current season); and leave them even more constrained by La Liga financial fair play rules in the next two or three transfer markets.

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All these threats can be classified as immediate and real danger. Another side effect, entirely dependent on how Javi Hernandez chooses to play his cards, could be Piqué’s announcement of his retirement from professional football. Similarly, in this chaos theory, Barcelona has the potential to somehow work their way out of this predicament; fully restore their self-respect and confidence; even for Piqué to be called in for help, beaming, re-stating his readiness for the Spanish national team and, who knows, giving Luis Enrique food for thought before he names his team for the World Cup in November.

Be patient, everything will be explained.

The first sequence that can be directly and negatively affected by the flapping of a butterfly’s wings (for those who care about blaugrana at least) are Barcelona’s next five games, three of which are against Inter Milan (away, then home) and Real Madrid (at Clasico in Bernabeu.) Pretty brutal. Will Barcelona keep the opportunity to score five points in these matches – a draw in two away tests and a victory over Nerazzuri at Camp Nou? Potentially.

But would Araujo and Kunde, if they were fit, be able to start all three games and play a decisive tactical role beyond their individual prowess? Undoubtedly. Araujo adds speed and strength, which are completely dependent on the high line of defense and the occasional experimentation with the three defenders preferred by Xavi.

In the match against Inter, he would have been put in place of the newly minted Romelu Lukaku. Against Madrid he would, as in the past two Classic (each of which Barcelona won with a dry score), met with Vinicius Jr. A tough, tireless Uruguay right-back against a lightning-fast, generously talented Brazil striker that quickly becomes remarkable hand to hand secondary to the main feast.

Clasico will be exhausted, at least for neutrals, given the absence of this exciting battle.

As for Kunde, this season’s stats show his match reading, speed, interceptions, tackles, ability to clear the ball from behind his back and, oh, he’s already made three assists in five games. By the way, Mallorca fans, I am by no means ignoring Barcelona’s declining ability to deal with the aerial and physical threat of Vedat Muriqui on Saturday while the 6ft 4in Kosovo center is in good shape after returning from the national team.

How Xavi lines up his remaining defenders and how they operate is obviously now the key to avoiding the apocalyptic damage that suddenly threatens Barcelona’s resurgence.

First, Garcia. Xavi appreciates his attitude, his ability to handle the ball and constantly praises his core ability. However, the 21-year-old is too short for a centre-back (5ft 11), could lose pace if turned over by a striker, and has only started 184 of Barcelona’s last 360 competitive minutes. Garcia plays very tight with his charge when Barcelona defend with a high line, because if he lets the fast forward have the ball, turn around and sprint, chances are he won’t be able to keep up with him.

Even the slightest mistake in timing or positioning leaves the threat of warnings, red cards and opponents who have fallen on the goal of Marc-André ter Stegen. Lukaku, if he is in good shape and is selected at next week’s San Siro, will be licking his lips when he sees how easily Brel Embolo fully contained and led Garcia in Switzerland’s winning goal against Spain in Zaragoza at the weekend. The Belgian striker is better, bigger, stronger and far more experienced at the top level than the admittedly impressive Embolo, whose goal caused Switzerland’s first away win against Red.

Garcia and Christensen have essentially been starting centre-backs in the past. Clasico. But be careful. Anyone who doesn’t remember that Madrid were significantly shorter in game practice, fitness and edginess because they started their pre-season schedule later is deceiving themselves badly. What Clasicowon by an outrageous goal from Rafinha, ended with De Jong and Piqué as a pair of centre-backs.

Christensen, like Garcia, has good ball control, arrived with a free pass that was a crucial element in the rebuild that Xavi, Jordi Cruyff and Mateu Alemany have had this summer, but has shown both positional error and concentration. He’s not used to playing from the back like Barcelona and he can be made to give the ball. And if you go back and study his position, reaction time and athleticism when Bayern Munich scored their second goal, four minutes after he took the lead in Munich last week, the Dane is fundamentally to blame.

Inter and Madrid have carefully studied this detail. Now it would make sense for Xavi to turn to his former teammate, World Cup, European Championship and Champions League winner Piqué and say, “Geri, it’s time for your ‘last dance’ – get the defense through this.” a crisis.”

But will he? Is he allowed? “Will he” refers to the fact that former teammates don’t always make great companions when one is elevated to team management – ego conflicts, demarcation between past and present can be difficult. Xavi and Pique in habits, attitudes, worldview, personality and personal life really have only two things in common: love for their club and victory in general.

Sparks are flying this season. Alone, but sparks nonetheless. – Is he allowed? refers to the idea that Laporta and all the counters at Barca would like Pique to voluntarily terminate his contract, which is a huge financial outlay and runs until June 2024 when he retires. The idea that a message could have been sent to the coach: “Limit his minutes, burn his patience” stems from El Mundo’s recent claim that a defender earns around €28m gross/€15m net per season.

In this matter, Piqué, even apart from his turbulent personal life, could have scored a decisive own goal. Last April, he told interviewer Jordi Wild, speaking of hanging up his boots: “It’s not only physical, it’s also motivational. I’m not going to go to all the stadiums in Spain if I don’t have the right motivation to do so. .With all due respect, going to the stadium and the field, where I have already played 15 times, by the start at 16.00 is very morally demanding. but many times it was difficult for me to stay motivated, even at the club that I love.

“For all the money in the world I would not go to another team. I am 100% sure that I will leave here. I’ve always said that if I don’t feel like that anymore, I’ll leave – whether I have two, five or 25 years left on my contract. What’s the alternative? Sitting unused on the podium or on the bench? In no case. It was beautiful here, no need to spoil it. I want to leave feeling like I’ve always been relevant.”

Piqué is still good enough for Xavi to build Barcelona’s defense around him, especially as he is comfortable playing as a left centre-back despite being right-handed. His all-consuming will to win, his reading of matches, his swoon from the back, his vast experience all fit well with the fact that at 35 he is no longer a “top athlete”.

But will Xavi trust him, put aside the media’s ongoing obsession with Pique’s split from wife Shakira, and potentially disappoint one or two of his new players? Can the club insist on their coach to keep Piqué in the starting XI as a last resort? If Piqué is forced to stay on the bench when Araujo and Kunde are eliminated respectively, until November and…