Saturday, December 16, 2017

Semedo more like Alves than Bellerin, says new Barcelona signing´s ex-coach

SoccerNews in La Liga 17 Jul 2017

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New Barcelona signing Nelson Semedo is a more suitable Dani Alves replacement than Hector Bellerin, according to his former youth coach.

The 23-year-old completed his move to Camp Nou from Benfica last week for an initial fee of €30million.

The right side of defence proved to be a problem position for Barca last season after Alves left to join Juventus, with Aleix Vidal out of favour and then sidelined with a serious ankle injury, meaning Sergi Roberto was regularly used as a makeshift right-back.

Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin was linked with a return to Catalonia, but Helder Cristovao, who coached Semedo in Benfica’s B team, believes the Portugal international is the best option as a long-term Alves successor.

“He has a lot of Alves qualities,” he told Sport. “I think that, of all the players they were talking about, including Bellerin, maybe Semedo is closest to Alves than the others.

“Nelson is a boy who is very sure of himself. He’s very family-centric, he married his lifelong girlfriend who he knew from his old town, Sintra, and he has a little girl of a year old.

“He’s very fast and Barca play with a very high structure, with a very high defensive line, 40-45 metres from the goalkeeper.

“He’s very strong on the wing, he’s able to get good combinations with the players infield and on the outside, so I don’t think he’ll have any big problems.”

Cristovao believes Semedo is ideally suited to Barca boss Ernesto Valverde’s style of play, more so than he would be in teams coached by Luis Enrique or Pep Guardiola.

“I think it will be slightly easier for Semedo with Valverde than with Luis Enrique or Guardiola,” he said. “Valverde has a slightly different idea for defences, he gives them a lot of freedom, but basically it’s a little different than with Luis Enrique or Guardiola.”

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