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Barcelona captain unlikely to start against Napoli due to lack of match fitness



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The grand showdown between Barcelona and Napoli is only a matter of time away, with the two European heavyweights set to battle it out for a place in the Champions League quarterfinals tomorrow.

The first leg concluded with both teams scoring a goal each. While Barcelona showcased several positive signs, a lot has changed since the 1-1 draw at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.

Indeed, injuries to key individuals have depleted Barcelona’s squad significantly. Pedri and Frenkie de Jong both picked up injuries against Athletic Club at the San Mames, which has ruled out two of Barça’s best midfielders for the upcoming clash.

Now, alternatives are being meticulously devised by Xavi and his coaching staff, as speculations regarding the expected XI are running rife.

Will Sergi Roberto start?

One of the players who has generally been relied upon amidst injury crises is Sergi Roberto. The Barcelona captain has proven to be a solid utilitarian option at times and could once again be availed to mitigate the exclusions in midfield.

As per Mundo Deportivo, due to his lack of match sharpness, Sergi Roberto is unlikely to feature in the starting lineup against Napoli.

He was handed the medical green light just before the first leg commenced but has yet to find any game time since then, which reduces his chances of being named in the XI.

Nonetheless, the staff appreciates his box-to-box profile, and he could be important for Barça, especially if the match goes to extra time.

With his ability to attack spaces and make late runs inside the opposition box, the La Masia graduate has options to come off the bench and make a late cameo.

Roberto has four goals and assists across all competitions this season and most notably scored a match-winning brace against Almeria earlier in the season.

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