Barcelona ‘upset’ with two misfiring attackers – report
After a rosy start to the season, things have gotten a bit rocky for Barcelona over the past couple of weeks, especially in Europe, where they have been eliminated from the UEFA Champions League.
It has brought about some criticism of the project, considering the lavish spending that the Catalans carried out in the summer to sign top-quality stars in multiple positions.
While there is criticism from the outside, according to a fresh report from SPORT, internally, Barcelona are ‘upset’ with two of their forwards in Memphis Depay and Raphinha.
Depay has been at the club since last summer and even finished his debut campaign as the top-scorer with 12 goals. But with the arrivals of Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha in the summer, he has fallen down the pecking order and has played just three times this season.
The Dutchman picked up a thigh injury last month while on international duty. While it was initially believed that he would be back in action in a month, the 28-year-old is yet to complete his recovery and has exceeded the expected recovery timeline.
In total, Depay has missed eight matches for Barcelona due to injury. And the club are said to have some ‘discomfort’ with the situation.
The report states that Barça suspect that Depay is prioritising being fit for the upcoming FIFA World Cup which is slated to kick off in a little over two weeks rather than helping the team in the demanding fixture schedule in the run-up to the tournament in Qatar.
As for Raphinha, the Blaugrana are said to be internally surprised by the sharp decline in his form, which in turn has led to a reduced role in Xavi’s side.
Indeed, after starting El Clasico against Real Madrid, the Brazilian played just 16 minutes against Villarreal while he did not feature at all versus Athletic Club, before making a 30-minute cameo against Bayern Munich.
It is also not lost on the club officials that Raphinha has not scored or assisted a single goal in the Champions League so far this season.
It goes without saying that with pressure mounting, the former Leeds United winger will need to step up his game in the coming weeks.
As for Depay, it remains to be seen if he returns to action before the World Cup break. There are reports that Barcelona could look to sanction an exit for him in January given his diminished importance in the manager’s plans.