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Barcelona veteran likely to start ahead of midfield gem against Real Madrid – report

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Photo by JORGE GUERRERO/AFP via Getty Images

FC Barcelona will still be reeling from their elimination from the UEFA Champions League at the hands of PSG last night.

However, with a huge clash against Real Madrid coming up on Sunday night, there’s simply no rest for the weary and the players must switch on and focus on what lies ahead.

With eight points separating the two teams in La Liga, Barcelona have a chance to push their way back into the title race by winning at the Santiago Bernabeu and reducing the gap to five.

However, the after-effects of the PSG game could mean that manager Xavi Hernandez is likely to make a few changes to the team that started last night.

Sergi Roberto in for Pedri?

Indeed, SPORT reports that Barcelona captain Sergi Roberto could be in line to start against Real Madrid, possibly at the expense of midfield prodigy Pedri.

Roberto missed the PSG game as he was suspended, along with Andreas Christensen, and both will be available for the Clasico this weekend.

Pedri could make way for Sergi Roberto. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

And, Xavi looks set to start Roberto in place of Pedri in midfield. The latter has only returned from an injury just a week ago and had to exert himself physically last night following Ronald Araujo’s red card.

As such, it might not be prudent to have him start again in a few days against Real Madrid and risk any potential fitness issues, considering his well-established injury problems.

Roberto has been in decent nick and performed well in the past few matches when the likes of Pedri and Frenkie de Jong were out injured. And he will be aiming to lead the team to a bounceback victory later this week.

More changes?

There may also be some alterations in defence, with the report suggesting that Xavi could opt for greater experience against Real Madrid, which could open the door for players like Inigo Martinez or Marcos Alonso.

Andreas Christensen is also likely to return to the starting XI, although it remains to be seen if he plays in defence or as the pivot midfielder.

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