Malcom’s goalscoring display in El Clasico may not cement his place at the Nou Camp… but it could make him easier to sell to Premier League clubs
Pete Jenson for MailOnline
It might be going too far to call Barcelona winger Malcom’s performance on Wednesday night the game that makes him a Barca player, but it could go a long way to getting his career back on track and making Premier League interest him a little bit more serious than it was in January.
It was a reminder of what made him shine at Bordeaux and what made Roma want him. He may never cement a place for himself at the Nou Camp but he might be easier to sell after keeping Barcelona in the Copa del Rey against Real Madrid.
His name on the Barcelona team sheet was the first surprise of the night. Even in the absence of the still not 100 per cent Lionel Messi, he was not necessarily the obvious call-up. The second surprise of the night was seeing Marcelo on the Madrid team sheet.
Malcom scored the equaliser as Barcelona drew 1-1 with rivals Real Madrid on Wednesday
His display was a reminder of what made him shine at Bordeaux and made Roma want him
‘He’s a club captain’ said Santiago Solari after the game with an answer to a question about the full-back’s performance that hinted at him playing in the game more because of his status at the club than any reasoning based on current form.
Marcelo duly served up Real Madrid’s left flank on a platter to Barcelona and Malcom did his best to feast on it. The results were hit and miss. It was from his cross that Suarez went close and it was also Malcom assists that Clement Lenglet and Gerard Pique had chances from.
But there was still frustration at some of his deliveries and at his tactical reading of what his job on the pitch was.
When his big moment came in the first half after being sent clear by Suarez, he was foiled by Keylor Navas and there were groans around the old arena – 92,000 people all thinking the same thing: this kid, 22 years old this month, is never going to make it here.
On his rare chance to shine, the results were hit and miss, with frustrations over his delivery
He got another chance in the second period and this time he took it. It was tougher than the first-half opportunity but he buried it through a crowd of players and then celebrated by charging across to the main stand and literally jumping for joy.
MALCOM STATS 18-19
Minutes per goal: 176
Total minutes played: 529
He was not joined by his team-mates who were too busy urging referee Antonio Lahoz to send off Navas for his foul on Jordi Alba in the build-up to the goal.
Will it be the first of many Nou Camp goals for Malcom? He will not be facing Marcelo every week and Ousmane Dembele has now recovered from injury so when he gets over a bout of flu he will be back in the team. Dembele looks a far more complete player than Malcom as he should do for €100million more.
Barca were very pleased with themselves last summer for gazumping Roma and signing Malcom. Their enthusiasm for the capture of a player not in the Brazil squad seemed to have more to do with the Italian club’s sporting director Monchi waiting for Malcom to land in Italy and then being told he was en-route to Barcelona instead.
The acquisition of another player who likes to play on the right wing cutting in on to his favoured left foot was a head scratcher when that remains Messi’s favourite starting position and Dembele’s best berth in the team, too.
Barca were very pleased with themselves last summer for gazumping Roma and signing him
But how he fits into the future of the club is no clearer after Wednesday’s performance
Coach Ernesto Valverde did not want him. He had first asked for Antoine Griezmann and then when it became clear to him that the Frenchman was staying at Atletico he requested Willian from Chelsea.
Griezmann doubles up as a centre-forward. Willian can also play in midfield and he had impressed last season when he so nearly scored a hat-trick of long shots against Barcelona in the Champions League last 16.
Malcom does not have that versatility. He is a winger pure and simple. How he fits into the future of the club is no clearer after Wednesday night’s performance. But he’ll never forget his goal and the ovation he got when he hobbled off at the end.
Interest in him last month was not enough to take him out of La Liga. At one point he looked destined for China but finally stayed put. On Wednesday night Barcelona were glad they still had him, at least for now.