FC Barcelona has announced the squad list to face Real Madrid in La Liga.
Jordi Alba has received the medical clearance and is ready to play, but the player is not expected to start — he will most likely come from the bench.
The full list consists of: Dest, Piqué, Araujo, Busquets, Aleñá, Griezmann, Pjanic, Braithwaite, Messi, Dembélé, Puig, Neto, Coutinho, Lenglet, Pedri, Trincão, Alba, Roberto, De Jong, Fati, Firpo, Iñaki Peña, Tenas.
The Clasico will be an important test for Ronald Koeman to prove himself at the Catalan club not only because Real Madrid is considered to be the club’s eternal rival, but also because he did not manage to win in his past 2 La Liga games.
If the Dutchman wants to win the League, tonight’s game is crucial. Real Madrid is not in its best form currently, so everything is in the hands of Barcelona now. How Barcelona will line-up remains unknown, but according to Spanish newspaper SPORT, Griezmann and Sergi Roberto will certainly start.
Barcelona call up midfielder Matheus Fernandes for the first time
Barcelona confirmed the signing of Matheus Fernandes from Palmeiras for a fee of €7 million + €3 million in variables on the last day of the January transfer window on a four-year contract, with the release clause set at €300 million. The midfielder would join the Barcelona camp after the end of the 2019/20 season.
This transfer was regarded as a sketchy transfer as he was not touted as good enough for a club of the stature of Barcelona. In fact, the Brazilian was barely able to make it off the bench for Real Valladolid during his time with the club on six-month loan stretching from January to July this year.
During those six month, Matheus made only three appearances, registering a total of 166 minutes with starts against Atletico Madrid and Eibar, and a one-minute cameo against Real Betis. He also suffered a hamstring injury during this tenure, ruling him out for four games.
After his arrival to the Catalan capital, Matheus was not even presented as a Barcelona player unlike the signings of Pedri, Fransisco Trincão, Miralem Pjanic, and Sergino Dest. In fact, Matheus did not even participate in the pre-season friendlies as he was ruled out from a hamstring injury.
News surrounded his departure as early as January, without him even getting a chance to play for the club. However, against all odds, Matheus has been included in the squad that will take on Dynamo Kyiv in gameweek four of the UEFA Champions League. This, in all probability, stems from the exclusion of Sergio Busquets – who is injured, and Frenkie de Jong – who has been rested.
Ronald Koeman has named just four central midfielders for the trip to Ukraine, with Miralem Pjanic guaranteed a spot. However, with the lack of any natural defensive midfielders, Koeman might have to readjust his tactics, and field one of Riqui Puig and Carles Aleña in the centre of the pitch as part of the midfield.