After a disastrous 2020, Barcelona will be hoping for a joyful start to 2021 as they travel to Aragon to take on SD Huesca on matchday 17 of La Liga. Ronald Koeman has handpicked 22 players for the flight, after being forced to leave out Philippe Coutinho, who picked up an injury against Eibar during the midweek fixtures.
Another major takeaway from this list is the exclusion of Samuel Umtiti. The Frenchman has featured twice — off the bench — since recovering from his injury, but has not been picked for the clash against Huesca, for reasons undisclosed right now.
Konrad de la Fuente makes the cut for the game, but more exciting than that will be the inclusion of Lionel Messi. The Argentine had picked up an ankle injury post the game against Real Valladolid, and missed the Eibar clash.
Messi’s partner in crime, Jordi Alba returns as well after serving his single game suspension for the fifth yellow he pecked this season.
The full list: Ter Stegen, Neto, Pena; Dest, Araujo, Lenglet, Mingueza, Alba, Firpo; Busquets, de Jong, Matheus, Pjanic, Alena, Puig, Pedri; Dembele, Trincao, Konrad, Messi, Griezmann, Braithwaite
Absentees: Pique, Roberto, Fati, Umtiti, Coutinho
Whether Lionel Messi will start or not is unknown, but him being in the squad list brings forth a lot of hope for Barcelona. We can refer to the game against Real Betis as an example here where Messi coming off the bench in the second half turned Blaugrana fortunes on their head.
Ousmane Dembélé talks Tuchel, Messi, Eto’o, Laporta
In an interview with BeIN Sports, Ousmane Dembele spilled beans on various topics ranging from football to personal life. The interview was conducted before yesterday’s Clásico.
The French winger is reportedly a player who the new president, Joan Laporta, admires a lot. Even during his campaign, the Catalan lawyer raised the issue of Dembele’s renewal. The club has invested heavily in Dembele and has finally started to reap results.
When asked the question about his contract renewal, Dembele explained: “My future? I still have a year left on my contract. There have been no discussions with the club, I’m happy and I feel good.
“A new president has arrived and I don’t really know him, but he is very close to the players. We’ll see how it goes.”
In all the reports that have come out and interviews given by the young players, all of them have mentioned that the club captain, Lionel Messi shares an exceptional with this new generation of players.
On the same lines the World Cup winner said: “Messi gives confidence to the young players in the team and helps us a lot. He gives me advice.”
Dembele is said to be liking his new role up top in the newly found 3-5-2 system by Koeman. He jokingly said in the interview that the dressing room now relates him to Samuel Eto’o, a former Barça legend: “As I now play up top, they call me Samuel Eto’o in the dressing room.”
The Barça winger had an excellent season at Dortmund which led to multiple European giants going into a bidding war for him.
His strike partner during his days in Germany was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whom the Frenchman regarded as `his favorite teammate’. He also said that `Thomas Tuchel is his favorite coach’.