Barcelona Was pressed to improve

Arthur Melo played 27 LaLiga Santander matches in the 2018/19 season, which is a considerable number when you consider it was his first campaign in Europe, however he didn’t finish 90 minutes in any of those appearances, and thus was forced to make a radical physical change this term.

Conditioning was a problem for the former Gremio midfielder, and it became problematic that he couldn’t finish a full match, and at the end of his debut year the club sat down and had a frank conversation with him over his stamina.

Barcelona were keen to impress that despite his fabulous ability to pass a football, if he didn’t develop physically then he simply wouldn’t succeed in the way he wanted at the Camp Nou.

The pace of play in Brazil is very different to European football, and Arthur had to start taking better care of himself, which began in the pre-season of 2019.

He admitted that his preparation the previous summer hadn’t been ideal and he utilised a personal trainer laid on by the club in order to hit the ground running this time around.

The results are now clear for all to see, coach Ernesto Valverde now views the South American as a legitimately vital player in each match, and he has already completed 90 minutes on four occasions.

Not only has he improved in his aesthetic fitness, but this has also led to better performances from a technical standpoint.

Valverde clearly believes the Brazilian can rejuvenate the team and it’s no coincidence that he and Frenkie de Jong are playing the most minutes in midfield.

So far this term, Arthur has two goals and two assists, whereas last year he didn’t find the net once in domestic competitions, and there is also the important fact that in the two matches he hasn’t played any part, the Blaugrana have lost.