Former Barcelona right-back Juliano Belletti has run the rule over the Barcelona side ahead of the Club World Cup final against River Plate, saying it compares favourably with the sides of Frank Rijkaard and Pep Guardiola.
Luis Enrique and Barcelona will go head-to-head with Argentine champions River in Sunday’s final, having claimed the treble last season.
Barca won the Champions League, La Liga and Cope del Rey in 2014-15.
Belletti – who played for Barcelona from 2004-2007, famously scoring his first and only goal for the club in the 2006 Champions League final win against Arsenal – believes there are similarities between Luis Enrique’s men and that of Frank Rijkaard he played in.
“The now has possession of the ball but they also try to find the goal at all costs,” Belletti said.
“The trident of [Luis] Suarez, Neymar and [Lionel] Messi reminds me of the one we had with [Ludovic] Giuly, Ronaldinho and [Samuel] Eto’o when I was playing.”
Comparing his Barca teams with that of Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique’s proved more difficult for the former Brazil international.
“They all had different ways of playing,” Belletti said. “With Rijkaard, we had Ronaldinho. It was pure magic.
“Guardiola highlighted the collective game, and his football changed the way of understanding the game, with Messi becoming the Pele of our generation.
“Now, they have the three players [Suarez, Messi and Neymar] who make a direct difference to the game themselves, but they understand each other collectively, which is rare in football where everyone looks out for themselves.”
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