Ronald Koeman has called up all 22 players available at his disposal for the clash against Elche in La Liga. After failing to win three of their last four games, this match certainly has the capability to prove to be a momentum-booster for Barcelona, especially after their draw against Cadiz on the weekend courtesy of a last-minute penalty from Alex Fernandez.
Konrad de la Fuente has been training with the team all week and has been called up to participate in the clash. However, if the past is anything to go by, the American will be sat on the bench through the course of the encounter even though his electric pace is exactly what Barça will be calling for against a mid/low-block Elche.
Miralem Pjanic’s name is among the members, as well, and tonight could be another chance for the former Juventus man to prove himself in Ronald Koeman’s plans. Similarly, Riqui Puig might be presented with the same opportunity.
Barcelona are still missing Ronald Araujo, who might be able to make it to the team against Sevilla on the weekend, but the Elche encounter has proved to be too soon for the young man. The onus will be on Oscar Mingueza to prove that he can pick up the slacks in the Uruguayan’s absence.
Full List: Ter Stegen, Neto, Pena; Dest, Mingueza, Pique, Lenglet, Umtiti, Alba, Firpo; Busquets, Pjanic, de Jong, Pedri, Puig, Matheus; Braithwaite, Dembele, Messi, Trincao, Griezmann, Konrad
Absentees: Araujo (ankle), Coutinho (knee), Roberto (calf), Fati (knee)
Ronald Koeman started with the same team against Cadiz and PSG, a decision that came back to bite him and the team. He has the options to rotate tonight, and should, against an 18th placed Elche. The likes of Fransisco Trincao, Riqui Puig, Miralem Pjanic, and Junior Firpo deserve more opportunities than they have been warranted.
Just in: Neymar’s entourage confirms renewal with PSG as he ‘likes the project’
Fabrizio Romano has broken huge news as part of Neymar’s contract situation with Paris Saint-Germain, which all but officially announces that the Brazilian will be staying in France, contrary to what has been reported recently. The report suggests that that he will sign his extension soon, which is bound to include a massive UCL bonus.
Neymar’s entourage have confirmed his decision to stay with the Paris outfit in conversation with France Football, saying, “Neymar wants to stay at PSG. He sees that the club is growing. He likes the project.”
Neymar is expected to sign soon his new contract with Paris Saint-Germain until June 2026, huge UCL bonus confirmed too. His entourage just announced to France Football: “Neymar wants to stay at PSG. He sees that the club is growing. He likes the project”. 🇧🇷 #PSG https://t.co/LMnrpctSkx— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 12, 2021
PSG have, in fact, actually enjoyed success in Europe in the recent past. They reached the Champions League final last season, crumbling only to the unstoppable Bayern Munich by a mere one goal to nil. Since then, they have fired Thomas Tuchel, and hired Mauricio Pochettino, who inspired an incredible victory against Bayern in this season’s Champions League quarters. Spearheaded by Neymar and Mbappe, the capital-side hit the defending champions for three goals, conceding two.
Despite their lead in the UCL, they do not have a stronghold on the trophy with the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, and Real Madrid still in the running. It becomes a lot more problematic when you realise their situation in Ligue 1.
PSG look far from comfortable in the league, which is a shocker to say the least. As it stands, Pochettino’s mean are in second place with 66 points, three adrift of Lille who top the table with one of the most impressive defensive records in Europe.
A season without either of the big trophies might force Neymar to have a change of mind, with the Barcelona project looking much more comprehensive under Joan Laporta. In fact, the new President might look at the Brazilian as the key that will allow Lionel Messi to stay at the club. We do the same rumours annually, so it is only fair if any of these ‘confirmations’ are turned on their head in the coming weeks.