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Papers: Barcelona fighting for the knockout stages without Messi and De Jong

Domagoj Kostanjšak

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Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images

Today, Barcelona are travelling to Kyiv for a chance to secure their spot in the knockout stages of the Champions League. Having won their first three games, the Catalans are one step away from officially securing that coveted position.

However, as we now know, Ronald Koeman has decided to rest both Lionel Messi and Frenkie de Jong for the clash. Neither of them are in the squad list and this is what the papers are focusing on today. Mundo Deportivo are saying ‘To the knockout stages without Messi and De Jong‘.

With a lack of senior centre-backs availalble, Óscar Minguenz has also been called up and we may see him slot next to Clément Lenglet later on tonight. Of course, this is a direct result of Gerard Piqué’s serious injury and Samuel Umtiti’s and Ronald Araújo’s unavailability.

Antoine Griezmann will also have to take up a bigger role now that Messi won’t be on the pitch. Speaking of the Frenchman, he’s had enough of the media’s rumours and decided to speak out on his relationship with Messi and the current situation.

SPORT‘s cover is all about the forward and his most interesting quotes from the recent interview. The Frenchman wanted to clear the waters and set things right. Hopefully, he said, this will calm everyone down and prove that there is no animosity between him and Leo specifically.

Griezmann has also been an easy target in all of Barcelona’s bad games and he plans to rectify that as well. A big night awaits him and it’s time to prove the doubters wrong.

Good luck, Griezou.

I’ve been a Barcelona fan for more than half of my life. What started as blind love is slowly turning into professional writing. Now, I get to write about Barca, analyse them, and voice my opinions on them across platforms. I’m happy to be a part of this big project.

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Gerard Pique appoints Eder Sarabia as head coach for his team Andorra

Udhav Arora

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Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

In an interesting turn of events, Barcelona centre-back Gerard Pique has appointed Eder Sarabia as head coach for his team Andorra. Sarabia served as Quique Setien’s assistant during the Spaniard’s six-month tenure at Barcelona ranging from January to August before the coaching staff was sacked for a humiliating exit at the hands of Bayern Munich.

Pique’s Kosmos Holding Group bought Andorra, who operated in the Tercera Division – the Spain’s fourth tier, in December 2018. After raising enough funds, and going on a 22 match unbeaten run, Andorra replaced CF Reus in the Segunda Division B.

After the dismissal of Gabri Garcia following a poor run of form, Nacho Castro was appointed as the head coach. After nearly a year in-charge, on January 18, Andorra announced through a press release that Castro would not be continuing at the club. Three hours later, Eder Sarabia was appointed.

This appointment has come as a surprise to Barcelona fans considering Sarabia’s controversial tenure with the club. The Spaniard had been on the end of several heated discussion with club captain Lionel Messi, with videos releasing of the assistant shouting and cursing at the players during a game against Celta Vigo last season.

Andorra currently sit second in Group III-A of the Segunda Division B, three points clear of Barcelona B. The two are set to meet on 7th February in Round 15 of the third division. The Encamp outfit won the last meeting, held in November 2020, between the two with a goal from Carlos Martinez Rodriguez enough to scrape a 1-0 win through.

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