In mid-August, when Barcelona promoted the hiring of Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool and began to worry a little about the prolonged process, there were other figures of great influence in the Camp Nou who began to suggest that they should go in another direction. .
Specifically, a No 10 that is better suited to the direction of his game: Christian Eriksen. Even objections were made to their representatives, although he quickly realized that Tottenham Hotspur would be even more difficult to handle than Liverpool. The feeling among some Barça coaches and directors was that Eriksen's fluid and brilliant game fit better with his famous philosophy, and that therefore it is worth continuing in the future.
At this time, that ability, as well as its huge increase in the Spurs' productivity, has made the 25-year-old one of the best players in the world. This has also made him someone at the right age and at the right stage of his career, ready to take command in a World Cup.
However, an important factor that threatens its own presence in Russia is that it is this same skill and ability that Denmark could not take advantage of in the first leg of a tie-break match against Ireland on Saturday. Actually, it was quite shocking, and somehow it helped me explain why Eriksen just had an adequate goal attempt. He was regularly ignored, Denmark often sought to play the ball on him to come back to him, instead of putting him on it to drive the game.
It was as if manager Aage Hareide wanted Eriksen to simply end any movement with his talent, instead of building attacks through him. It also seemed a loss of what is undeniably his best weapon, especially considering the way Eriksen has thrived and evolved in the Mauricio Pochettino system that makes him so central.
There was only one moment when the 25-year-old got on the ball in the kind of position that has seen him purring for the Spurs in recent seasons. It was not a coincidence that it was the moment when Denmark looked good, it seemed sharp. However, substitute Nicklas Bendtner did not take full advantage of Eriksen's 74-minute ball on the way, say, Harry Kane would do it and the move did not go anywhere.
This is, in many ways, the somewhat counterintuitive problem of having someone at Eriksen's level in a squadron of Denmark's limitations.
Obviously they should build the team around them, in theory, but would the squadron's limitations mean that they would really take it to the best level in practice? Actually, it did not work for the previous manager Morten Olsen, whose possession game put Eriksen on the ball a lot, but also an unfair amount of pressure on him, as he had nowhere to actually play that ball. He would end up looking for outlets that never showed up, and therefore they were a waste. Really, it was just a waste of his talent.
Eriksen's talent has been wasted a little with Denmark (Getty Images)
For its part, it is said that Eriksen himself has the responsibility to have similar big stars in similar teams of medium level: the responsibility that Gareth Bale has had with Wales, Zlatan Ibrahimovic with Sweden, Roy Keane with Ireland and even Brian Laudrup with Denmark before him. . He knows that his exceptional talent puts that expectation in him, and he wants to be up to the task.
That's why he did not hesitate to sincerely admit that reaching the World Cup with his country would be at a level far higher than what could have been one of the best nights in the history of his club: defeat the European champion Real Madrid 3 -1 two weeks ago.
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"I think it would be," Eriksen said. "It would mean a lot to me personally and to the country in general." Taking your country to a World Cup is one of the most important things you can do for your country. Each player wants to send his country to a World Cup. It's the greatest thing you can achieve. "
The Spurs say he is deeply motivated by that at this moment, that he feels it on a deeper level, even for someone generally so calm that he takes things in stride. He really does not want to be one of those frustrated stars named in one of those lineups of the best players to not be in a World Cup.
He also says a lot about that great attitude that Eriksen was not too critical of Ireland's approach in the first leg. In fact, he did not blame any negativity marked by the man too focused on his struggle to get on the ball, or think it is a big concern.
Spurs say the midfielder is deeply focused on taking his country to the World Cup (Getty Images)
"They were the visiting team, they wanted to prevent us from scoring," Eriksen said. "I can not blame them … I feel we will have our chance in Dublin, I am very sure".
So are the Irish, especially because they managed to stifle Eriksen in the first leg.
"They can not score against us in the draw at home, I'm pretty sure they will not score [in Dublin]," Shane Duffy said. "We know your threats even more now."
They know that Eriksen does not take the ball so much, that Denmark only uses his great Spurs weapon in moderation.
That, however, should promote a note of caution for Ireland as much as hope. Other figures around the Denmark squadron have pointed in another direction, to another statistic. In his last qualifying match against Poland, Hareide's approach meant that Eriksen was only on the ball for just one minute and four seconds of the 90s.
Shane Duffy is confident that his team can stifle Eriksen once again (Getty)
He used it, and the team's particular structure, to score once and create another two goals in a devastating 4-0 victory.
This is what Denmark is betting on in Dublin, this is the reason why Barcelona would still break the bank in the future.
This could be the difference between getting to the stage that really shows its value.