It is finally El Clasico time and Ronald Koeman has welcomed his first game against Real Madrid with three changes in the official lineup from the team that faced Ferencvaros in midweek.
The first of these changes comes in at left-back, where Sergiño Dest has been replaced by Jordi Alba, who was given the medical green light after recovering from the hamstring injury he suffered against Sevilla. His compatriot Sergi Roberto has been benched on the opposite flank with Dest taking that role. Neto will pick up the gloves with Marc-Andre ter Stegen still out from injury.
Mainstays Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet will continue as the centre-back pairing in the heart of the defence. The former will be hoping to continue his series of top-notch performances against Real Madrid from previous seasons.
𝓔𝓵 𝓒𝓵𝓪𝓼𝓲𝓬𝓸 𝓛𝓲𝓷𝓮𝓾𝓹 pic.twitter.com/8tRIJ4i5cs— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 24, 2020
In the midfield, Frenkie de Jong will start his sixth game of the season, but his partner from last week, Miralem Pjanic will be replaced by Sergio Busquets, as was indicative when he came on in the final minutes of the Champions League game.
Philippe Coutinho is the designated started in the attacking midfield as the mediapunta, and will look to continue his impressive start to the season with another goal contribution against Madrid.
The last of the three changes in the official lineup comes in the form of the right-wing, and probably the most shocking one as well, where Pedri takes up the slot ahead of the likes of Fransisco Trincão, Ousmane Dembele, and Antoine Griezmann.
Ansu Fati starts the game on the opposite flank as the left-winger, and will pick up his Player of the Month award for September before kick-off. Lionel Messi will be the final piece in this team, playing as a false 9 in attack.
Griezmann jokes when asked about his future following Copa championship: “Ask the president”
After being starved of trophies for two years, Barcelona have won silverware, defeating Athletic Bilbao in the final of the Copa del Rey by four goals to nothing. Lionel Messi was on target twice, while Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann got a goal each as Barça cruise to victory.
Following the game, Griezmann, who opened the scoring for Barcelona, spoke to the media, including about his future. He jokingly replied to that question by saying, “Ask the president.”
He said that he was very proud of the team and how they have managed to turn around the season, “Proud of the team and the work. We know that the season is very long and there are good and bad times. Keep enjoying the team and in the end the reward will come.”
He ended the presser on a celebratory note, saying, “We have to celebrate this title and enjoy it as a result of the work we’ve done.”
The Frenchman has been in excellent form throughout the Copa del Rey campaign and spearheaded the comeback against Granada in the Quarter-finals. He also assisted Gerard Pique for a last minute equaliser against Sevilla when all seemed lost, and has now been rewarded with the first Copa del Rey win of his career. Onto bigger and better things, hopefully.