It was always going to be an unenviable task, and Antoine Griezmann has been handed the responsibility of stepping into Lionel Messi’s shoes according to Ronald Koeman.
The French World Cup winner has hardly set the Camp Nou alight since his move from Atletico Madrid, but he has always worked hard and, particularly last season, showed flashes of his obvious brilliance.
Often playing out of position to accommodate the needs of the team, Griezmann will now get to be the focal point of the attack.
“With the squad we have, the signings we have made and also young people have come up, which is always the future of this great club.
“We are convinced that we will give you many joys this season. With a lot of help, a lot of sacrifice and a very good job we will achieve the maximum. We know what it is to be from Barca and what this club represents.
“It is important to have the best, but we don’t change our ideas or the way we play either. Griezmann has played in his position and he has done well.”
Given that it appeared Griezmann would be sacrificed this summer in order to keep Messi, it’s some turnaround in fortunes for the striker.
With Memphis Depay having hit the ground running with three goals in three pre-season games, and Ansu Fati also yet to return, not to mention Martin Braithwaite and Sergio Aguero when he’s fit again, Barca have genuine options up front and it could yet be another vintage season for them.