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Barcelona players left at the World Cup following Spain’s elimination

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Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The 2022 FIFA World Cup suffered arguably its biggest upset when Morocco defeated Spain in the Round of 16.

Spain’s elimination was a major blow for the Barcelona players, as eight of them had been a part of the national team including the likes of Pedri, Gavi and Sergio Busquets, who notably missed one at the penalty shootout.

Nevertheless, in the aftermath of Spain’s defeat, Barça Universal will take a look at the remaining Barcelona players still participating in the World Cup, as we enter the quarterfinal stage.

Memphis Depay

Before the start of the tournament, Memphis Depay was always expected to play a key role for the Netherlands even though the Barcelona forward had been struggling with an injury for the most part of the campaign.

It appears Depay has not disappointed either. After a relatively slow start to the campaign, he has started in the Netherlands’ last two matches, even scoring in the Round of 16 game against the United States of America. He is now expected to play a crucial role for his nation as they take on Argentina in the quarterfinals.

Frenkie de Jong

Frenkie de Jong was in a good vein of form heading into the World Cup. He had become a key player for Xavi’s midfield unit, offering balance, control and leadership in the middle of the park.

De Jong has been able to continue that form in the World Cup, playing a key role in the Netherlands’ second line of press. He will be expected to play at his level best once again when the Oranje take on Argentina in the quarters.

Lionel Messi

Although not a part of FC Barcelona anymore, Lionel Messi can be always associated with the iconic Blaugrana colours, especially amidst speculations linking him to a fabled return to Camp Nou at the end of the season.

As far as the World Cup is concerned, Messi has been vital to Argentina’s attack and has led the side well to reach the quarterfinal stage. He will now be up against the Netherlands side involving Depay and de Jong.

Beating the Oranje could be a key step in Messi’s bid to land a maiden World Cup title that would certainly make him the greatest to ever play the game.

Raphinha

Raphinha was one of the star players during Brazil’s emphatic 4-1 win over South Korea in the Round of 16, earning praise even from Neymar.

One would expect Raphinha to continue his performances for the Brazilian team that appear to be one of the favourites to lift the tournament. The Selecao are slated to face Croatia in the quarterfinal stage, with the Barcelona winger likely to operate on the right flank.

Ousmane Dembele

Ousmane Dembele appears to have highly benefitted from the injuries to Karim Benzema and Christopher Nkunku heading into the tournament, having established himself as a key component in the French attack.

The former Dortmund starlet has featured in all four of France’s matches this season, racking up two assists in the process. His ability to cause terror on the flanks could be vital as Les Bleus look to defeat England in the quarters.

Jules Kounde

Another Barcelona player still participating in the World Cup, Jules Kounde has done admirably well to carve his way through Didier Deschamps’ plan. He has indeed taken advantage of Benjamin Pavard’s inconsistency to become an option at right-back.

The Barcelona starlet has performed decently as well, offering balance and technical qualities. His athleticism and tactical versatility make him an even handier option for the defending champions, who are once again favourites to lift the title.

Abde Ezzalzouli

By far the most surprising player on this list, Abde Ezzalzouli was one of the protagonists for the Moroccan side that knocked Spain out of the World Cup in the Round of 16 stage.

Although he is currently on loan at Osasuna, Abde has impressed onlookers with his flair and skill on the flanks. Many even expect him to play the full ninety minutes when Morocco take on Portugal in the quarterfinals.

Dani Alves

Much like Messi, Dani Alves is an honourable inclusion on this list. The former Barcelona defender is currently plying his trade with PUMAS in the Mexican league, but he has recently thanked Barcelona for playing a key role in helping him get selected for the Brazilian squad.

The veteran has not disappointed either, becoming a valuable option for Tite in the right-back due to his experience and leadership. His qualities could be vital once again as the Selecao look to land their first World Cup title since 2002, the same year Alves had moved to Europe to start what would be a flourishing career.

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