Who’d have thought it eh?!
In a month when the sky had fallen in over the Camp Nou and Lionel Messi was on his way to pastures new, the narrative has taken an upward trajectory and culers are once again poring over the possibilities that a new season affords us.
It was wonderful to see all of Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann on the scoresheet against Nastic, but of more significance was the dawn of a new era of young players taking centre-stage for the club.
Pep Guardiola’s first season seems like an age ago, but I think we can all remember that euphoric feeling when he placed his trust in a number of La Masia graduates, almost all of whom repaid him faithfully.
Fast forward to the start of the Koeman era and the glimpses of Trincao, Pedri, Konrad de la Fuente, Carles Alena and Inaki Pena genuinely give Barca reasons to be cheerful.
It’s only Nastic and only the first game of the season I hear you cry, however, one can’t help but be positive when looking at the relative freedom with which they played and how they enjoyed taking responsibility.
That has to be encouraging for Ronald Koeman to see and, this is potentially when Covid may actually benefit the youngsters.
With no supporters in the stadiums for the first few games, there’s no criticism other than from the bench. No booing or whistling if something doesn’t turn out right.
These next few weeks could be vitally important in allowing the next generation to build up their confidence, both on the ball and within the team dynamic.
Let’s not leave Riqui Puig out of the conversation either. If he is given the opportunities he deserves, he will repay the management tenfold.
A shame that it seems as if Jean-Clair Todibo may be sent packing, as there’s enough to suggest he could be a successful part of Barca’s future too.
In any event, this really does feel like the beginning of something special.
Something to look forward to with anticipation, not to dread and worry about Messi probably leaving at the end of the campaign.
If nothing else, Koeman can ensure that the players give the supporters a reason to be proud to wear the shirt again.
If the senior stars can fire from the get-go too, who knows how well 2020/21 will turn out for us.
When you’re at your lowest ebb and in the very depths of despair, the only way is up.