Ronald Araujo and Franck Kessie will return, but Pedri remains unavailable for the game between Barcelona and Real Madrid on Sunday.
Barcelona will be eager to stretch the lead atop La Liga when they welcome Real Madrid to Spotify Camp Nou on Sunday evening. And Xavi Hernandez does not have any new injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Pedri remains unavailable due to his thigh issue despite hopes of returning in time for the Real Madrid fixture. The Spanish international will only return after the international break, and so will Ousmane Dembele, who continues to recover from a hamstring injury. So the duo remains out of the squad for the latest El Clasico.
But the good news is that Ronald Araujo is available again after serving a suspension. So Jules Kounde will return to the right-back berth. And Araujo will form the central defensive partnership alongside Andreas Christensen. Meanwhile, Alejandro Balde will retain his spot on the left flank, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen featuring between the sticks.
Meanwhile, Xavi commented on Pedri’s absence during his pre-match press conference. And he revealed that the youngster has missed out because he was not close to being 100 per cent. In addition, Xavi also touched upon the subject of Dembele’s injury.
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He said, “These are matches where you need to be at 100%. If the feelings are not good, there is no need to impose anything. It is not a final match and there will still be 12 matches left, it is not decisive.”
“We don’t want to lose Pedri for another two months. Barcelona can rise to the best level even in the absence of Pedri and Dembele. We did that before with the absence of Lewandowski and Pedri.”
With Pedri still unavailable, Franck Kessie might get a chance to impress in the middle of the park. The Ivory Coast international will join Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong in the midfield unit. So Sergi Roberto will be a backup option on the bench.
Meanwhile, Gavi will start on the left flank, as has been the case in most big games this season. The Spanish international will accompany Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha in the final third. That means Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati will find themselves on the bench, becoming options for the second half.
Predicted Barcelona XI: ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde; de Jong, Busquets, Kessie; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Gavi
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