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Barcelona defender could be benched vs Mallorca after 15 consecutive starts

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Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Since the turn of the year, Barcelona defender Jules Kounde has started and played the full game in each of the club’s 15 matches across all competitions.

Of a total of 2900 minutes he has played this season, 1380 minutes have come in 2024, which amounts to almost 48% of his total game-time of the 2023/24 campaign.

While his performances have not always been solid enough, the 25-year-old has been persisted with by Xavi, be it at centre-back or right-back.

Kounde could be rested

But, Toni Juanmarti of SPORT is now reporting that there is a possibility that Kounde could be rested when Barcelona face RCD Mallorca this Friday night.

Following the goalless draw against Athletic Club, the La Liga title appears to be out of reach for the Catalans as they remain eight points behind leaders Real Madrid.

With that being the case, the focus must be on progressing in the UEFA Champions League. And as such, Xavi might opt to give Kounde a breather against Mallorca so that he is fresh to face Napoli next week in the UCL Round of 16 second-leg tie.

With the likes of Pedri, Frenkie de Jong, and Gavi unavailable, it would be sensible for Barça to ensure that mainstays like Kounde go into that contest against Napoli at their 100%.

Hector Fort to start?

Hector Fort could start vs Mallorca. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

It must be remembered that Ronald Araujo will be missing the Mallorca game through suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card against Athletic Club.

So, Inigo Martinez would be the best-placed to replace him alongside Pau Cubarsi in the centre of the Barcelona backline.

And with Kounde likely to be rested, Hector Fort could end up being the beneficiary by earning a start, either at right-back or at left-back, in which case Joao Cancelo would move to his natural position.

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