The might Catalans possess some of the best resources in world football, they have money to spend, an amazing squad and a fully functional youth academy, what more could you want? However, with their arch rivals Real Madrid signing the worlds most expensive player, and improving key areas in their team, the question is, can you continue Barcelona's tradition and win the La Liga? And can you regain the Champions League trophy from the hands of the German superclub Bayern Munich? By following this guide, hopefully you'll keep up Barcelona's tradition and help them regain the title of the 'Worlds Best Team'.
FC Barcelona - Key Information
Founded: 29 November 1899
Ground: Camp Nou
President: Josep Maria Bartomeu
Head Coach: Gerardo Martino
League: La Liga
Finances and BudgetsAs one of La Liga's biggest giants, Barcelona are blessed with a good sum of money to spend in the transfer market, however with the summer signing of Brazillan wonderkid Neymar, their transfer budget has depleted to around 20 million euros, and with Neymar being greedy with wage, you only have around 87 thousand euros to spend on players wages. They club have a decent sum of money as their balance, with around 50.2 million euros safely stored up in their bank, so if you need some work done a extending your stadium or training ground, there shouldn't be a huge problem getting that done. Your transfer budget will also stay the same regardless of the league exceptations. Overall, after signing Neymar, you still have a good sum of money left to improve your squad.
ExpectationsYour board's expectations are the following:
-Win La Liga
-Win the Copa del Rey
-Win the Champions League
TacticsBarcelona have some very unique tactics up their sleeves, and this is why the play so well, they have some well thought out tactics and here are the main few which can provide you with success if you deploy the right players in the right positions.
Tactic 1 - 4-3-3
Probably the most well known tactic Barcelona use in world football, the 4-3-3 with one defensive midfielder provides great success in the majority of games you will play both in La Liga and the Champions League. This formation offers midfield domination with a midfield trio and width with your two wingers offering pace outwide to stretch your oppositions defence. The lone striker role offers a direct route and allows your wingers and midfield to push on forward if your striker is able to hold up play, overall a solid tactic that should win you every game. This tactic works the best with the mentality set as 'Control' and the fluidity set as 'Fluid'.
Tactic 2 - 4-6-0
Another one a Barcelona's famous tactics is a 4-6-0. This offers ultimate midfield domination and allows lots of players to win back the ball and create neat moves together. Your front four allows your team to move forward together and really expose your opposition due to the amount of attackers in their final third. To keep your team solid at the back, you should set both central midfielders to do a defensive role so they can offer support to your back four and break up play. I would also set your front four to an attacking role so they can move freely together and demolish your oppositions midfield, I would use this tactic if your playing a team with a strong midfield or if your are lacking a striker.
Starting XI PositionsWhen you've got your perfect tactic, your going to need to put the best players possible in each position to maximise your results, and luckily enough, Barcelona have some very good players who can easily add something special to your team, however which players are the best to play in each position? This analysis will show the usual roles in your tactic and which players would fit best there.
Barcelona have a good shot stopper that is Victor Valdes, however the Spanish International isn't getting any younger and will leave at the end of the season so you will need a new keeper in the not so distant future. He is a very good goalkeeper in your first season however is back-up Pinto isn't the best goalkeeper you will ever see, and if Valdes gets injured your going to be at a disadvantage if you play Pinto as your goalkeeper. So basically you will need to try and keep Valdes as fit as possible and only use Pinto is needs must.
Your best right back is Danny Alves without a shadow of a doubt, he is a very solid right back with some amazing stats, you won't be needing a new right back anytime soon with a player of Alves's quality on the right. Your backup right back will be Martín Montoya, another solid right back, no where near the standard of Alves but a very good player with a lot of potential to fill.
Your best centre back is going to be Gerard Pique, he is a very solid centre back with some very good attributes needed for a centre back, but apart from Pique, your only other decent option to partner Pique is Marc Bartra, a young academy graduate with huge potential. Javier Mascherano is also an option at centre back but he isn't the best there and will make many mistakes. This is position you'll need to improve as Carlos Puyol will be retiring at the end of the season and although he is a very solid centre back, you'll need to field a replacement very soon before he leaves. Having only 3 fixed centre backs isn't the best for a world-class team like Barcelona.
Your best left back is going to be Jordi Alba, a very solid left back with bags of pace, decent defending attributes and he can offer a lot going forward, he should always be your first pick at that left back spot. You also have Adriano as your back-up left back, and although he isn't very young and doesn't have any more potential to forfill anymore, he is a very solid option and has some very well-rounded stats for your average left back.
You have some very nice defensive midfielders at Barcelona, with your main one being Sergio Busquets as he possesses some very good defensive attributes but is also quite mobile and has the ability to create chances if he moves on forward. You have a very good back-up too with Alex Song, the former Arsenal midfielder is a very good defensive midfielder and can challenge Busquets for the starting position if he is in very good form, Xavi can also play here but he is much better situated further forward in the midfield. Jonathon dos Santos and Javier Mascherano can also play here but Busquets and Song are much better at covering this position.
Barcelona are well equipped for this position, Having up to five players able to perform well in this position. Stats wise, your best player for this position will be the Chilean Alexis Sanchez. He is a very direct winger with blistering pace, can deliver a good ball and has an eye for goal. If not Sanchez, Pedro is also a very good player to have at this position. He is more better at cutting inside and having a shot at goal then trying to pull out the dribbling skills and take on his man, if you want a more direct approach, choose Sanchez, if you want your wide men to cut inside, Pedro is your man. You can also give chances to the promising Cristian Tello, who is similar to Sanchez as he is very direct, however has a release clause of only 8.5 million, so if you are going to use him, get him to sign a new contract ASAP. Bojan is another option, he is a good player but not even close to the standards of the others and is out on loan. Messi can play here also but I think he is much better suited as a forward than a wide man. Gerard Deulofeu is also a player for the future but he is currently out on loan at Everton so you should wait until next season if you want to use him.
Probably your most important part of your team. You are blessed with some of the best midfielders to this present day in your centre midfield and you should neutrilise their ability to the most you can. Xavi is your best centre midfielder and although he is getting on, he still is possibly the best midfielder in the world. He needs to be in your first team always. Iniesta should be paired next to Xavi to field your best midfield possible, however he can play further up the field so Fabregas is also a big option for your centre midfield. A back-up is young Serio Roberto, although he isn't to the standards of Xavi and Iniesta, he is a solid back-up and has bags of potential so I would use him if either your midfield is missing key players or if you want to improve him a lot.
Your newest signing Neymar is your best option in this position, as he is a very good overall winger, has lots of pace, a good delivery, vrey good finishing and is basically a very talented and good winger at this position. You can play Sanchez and Tello here too as a back-up but Neymar is your best player for this area and you should play him here always if you can as he has bags of potential as well as his current ability.
Your only striker is possibly the World's Best Player, Lionel Messi. He is possibly your best player in your squad and you should always use him. However you don't have any depth in this position and should look at getting a back up for Messi in-case he gets injured.
Potential WeaknessAfter reviewing all your available players above, I mentioned that some areas really need improving, there are obvious positions to get new players and get rid of some, below I have listed the positions which need improving or a player added to.
Position 1 - Centre Back
Barcelona only have a few centre backs, one of them is retiring at the end of the season, one isn't even a centre back but he can play there, one is young and still improving and the other is your only solid centre back. You really want a partner for Pique and use Bartra as a back up, I'd suggest going with Tin Jedvaj or Joel Matip as potential centre backs. Matip offers more experience and room to growth whereas Jedvaj is a very decent centre back but doesn't have lots of experience, but he has so much potential its worth buying him.
Position 2 - Goalkeeper
With Valdes getting on and his contract running out at the end of the season, your going to need to get a new goalkeeper as Pinto isn't the best keeper, especially for a team like Barcelona, your going to have to get a very good goalkeeper. A big recommendation is Marc-André ter Stegen, he is quite young but is a very solid goalkeeper and has a lot of potential to fill, if you are going to add to your goalkeepers (which I would), Marc-André ter Stegen is probably your best player to get.
Position 3 - Striker
Althought this position isn't the one which needs the most work, your going to need a back-up for Lionel Messi in-case he gets injured. As you lack depth, a player I would reccommend is Yassine Benzia, although he is rather young, he is very confident and can score you goals. If you want a more experienced and well-known striker, I would also say Diego Costa, however he would cost you up to 32 million (his release clause) so you would either sell a player or ask the board for more funds to be able to sign him.
Youth AcademyBarcelona have one of the worlds best youth systems and don't be afraid to delve into the under 19's squad and look at some players there. One player I would highly reccommend is Dongou, a young striker with a lot of potential and a very good current ability, he could be Messi's back-up if you don't want to spend money fixing that position rather than the others. I'd always look at your staff's reports on your younger players and see their judgement on each player on whether or not they deserve a first team place.
SummaryI hope this guide has helped you learn more about playing as Barcelona in Football Manager 2014, however if some things here don't work for you, try your own ideas, there is no harm in trying new ideas and see how they compare with this guide.
Did I miss something out? Please let me know in the comments section.
-Josh & Aaron