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Frank Kessie's right-handed salute is becoming a more and more regular part of the FC Barcelona iconography, and never more so than his injury time winner in Sunday's Clásico at Spotify Camp Nou. He is now El Presidente more than ever.
Second busiest player since World Cup
Since arriving from AC Milan last summer, he has been consistently gaining greater prominence in Xavi's selections. Before the World Cup, he was just the 19th most used player, but since football resumed, he has become the 12th most used, with a total of 873 minutes completed.
It may be rare for him to get a full 90 minutes, but he has played some kind of part in all but one game since the World Cup, seven times in the starting line-up. Only Raphinha, who hasn't missed a match, has featured in more games.
Pedri's injury undoubtedly has a lot to do with that, because it has opened up an extra place in the midfield. And Kessie has not disappointed.
“He is a true example of a player, of a person, because of his work-rate" said Xavi after the Clásico. "Whatever time he gets on the pitch, he is always there for the team."
Another player who has been filling in for the Canary Islander's absence is Sergi Roberto, who also scored on Sunday night. "I was doubting until the last minute whether to play Roberto or Kessie" said the Barça manager afterwards. "But it worked out right because they both scored and have come out of it as winners.”
Another decisive Clásico
The Ivorian didn't make his entry until the 77th minute against Real Madrid. 15 minutes later, he was the hero of the night, and also got the honour of scoring the 3,000th goal at Spotify Camp Nou in La Liga.
"It was an inexplicable feeling" he said after the final whistle. "I am so happy to have scored in front of 95,000 people. I just can't believe it."
And this was happening only a couple of weeks after he had played a part in another goal against Real Madrid, that one in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey. It was his original left-footed shot that Courtois had to save, but only for the ball to come bounding back off Militao and into Madrid's own net.
Three goals, three assists
Our previous two chances to see Kessie performing his iconic salute in honour of his father came in the opening game of the Champions League and away to Ceuta in the Copa del Rey. But the player has also contributed three assists to the cause this season.
We already had an idea of what he was made of following his 37 goals for AC Milan and seven for Atalanta. Since switching from Serie A to La Liga, El Presidente has lost none of his magic touch in front of goal.
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