It has not been the most ideal of starts for Inigo Martinez at Barcelona, after all the defender arrived from Athletic Club still feeling the after-effects of the injury he had sustained last season.
So, even though he joined the club in early July, the veteran defender had to wait until last month to participate in group training sessions with the rest of his teammates.
And, given that his registration had not taken place until the transfer deadline day, the Spaniard also had to wait for his debut for the Blaugrana.
It ultimately came just prior to the international break, as Martinez came on as a substitute against CA Osasuna at El Sadar, even though it was only for a few minutes.
A first start beckons Inigo
Now, though, Sergi Capdevila of SPORT is reporting that a first start could be on the horizon for Martinez in the upcoming matches against Real Betis or Royal Antwerp.
The 32-year-old is understood to have made a big impression during training sessions, with the club staff left ‘delighted’ with his performances.
That, coupled with the possible rotations after the international break, could lead to Martinez making his first start as a Barcelona player either this Saturday against Real Betis or in next week’s UEFA Champions League clash versus Royal Antwerp.
Martinez is understood to have made the most of the international break to build some rhythm and get into better shape.
The defender is said to be perfectly fine and is dealing with increased workload and intensity, which bodes well for Barcelona.
Rotations on the horizon
Given that Barça will be playing seven matches between now and the next international break, there will be a pile-up of fixtures and Xavi will need to rotate his troops effectively.
More so, given that a lot of players are returning after playing for their respective national teams.
Jules Kounde and Andreas Christensen were involved with France and Denmark, respectively, while Ronald Araujo is still injured. As such, it could lead to minutes for Martinez either against Betis or in the contest versus Antwerp.