Barcelona defender Marc Bartra has been a bit-part player for the Catalans this season, making a paltry three league starts in the Spanish La Liga. The academy product was billed for a promising career with Luis Enrique’s side, but has been little other than a secondary option in the backline in recent years, and it seems Bartra will never be more than a subsidiary player for Barca.
Now 24, the centre-back needs regular action at the top level to continue his development, but has stiff competition for a starting place. The likes of Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano, Jeremy Mathieu and Thomas Vermaelen are all ahead of Bartra in the pecking order, and that may well make up his mind at the Nou Camp. The defender made just 11 league starts last season, and has made just over 50 appearances in his five years in the senior squad.
While rising to prominence as a fiercely combative player, boasting excellent reading of the game to time interceptions perfectly, while also having the steely tackling ability to thwart attacks on the spot, Bartra just hasn’t been able to convince Enrique that he deserves more action in a Barcelona shirt. Despite having the best years ahead of him, while the Catalans defence are all in the eve of their careers, the younger star is still overlooked.
Players who have spent so long at a club like Barcelona certainly won’t decide upon leaving so easily, so Bartra will take his time thinking about his long-term future. It seemed he was the one player the side were keeping in the squad to become a regular in the future, but instead Barca have spent money on more experienced stars with little resale value. Bartra will be wary of former teammates who failed to prolong their stay with Barca, such as Bojan, Marco Muniesa and Martin Montoya among others, so could he be next?
The lack of action will certainly be the biggest worry for Marc Bartra given how Spain hold him in high regard, starting him in their recent 2-0 friendly victory against England, but performances for his club haven’t been on par of late. Bartra has delivered below-par showings in recent weeks, and still has two years to go on his current deal. It appears he’s lacking trust from his manager, and hasn’t taken the few chances given to him this season.
Will Marc Bartra ever become more than a fringe player at Barcelona?