This Wednesday, Barcelona will host a largely depleted Dynamo Kyiv squad at the Camp Nou. Champions League football returns to Catalonia after a successful visit to Turin and now, according to the latest reports from SPORT, some pieces of Wednesday’s jigsaw are already known.
The paper claims Pedri will find his way back into the starting 11 of Ronald Koeman, as warranted by his recent brilliant performances. For the past couple of games, the 17-year-old playmaker has been Barça’s best man on the pitch so he deserves this big honour.
Of course, for the gaffer, age is just a number. If the player is ready and performing, he can play. And so far, Pedri has certainly performed at the highest of levels. With only 371 minutes across eight games into the 2020/21 season, we’ve only seen him in 51% of the available game time.
The former Las Palmas ace has started in three games so far and has been a substitute in five. But context is crucial here. All three of the starts were in three of Barcelona’s most challenging clashes: Real Madrid, Juventus and Getafe.
Needless to say, with the exception of the Real Madrid match, Pedri was up to the task in each and every minute of the season. With Philippe Coutinho still out with an injury, SPORT say Antoine Griezmann could feature again.
Lionel Messi will, of course, be picked as well so that leaves one more spot open. Koeman is yet to decide on his final piece of the jigsaw but one of Ansu Fati, Ousmane Dembélé and Francisco Trincão will be chosen.
As of right now, however, Fati is the obvious favourite.
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.