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Three talking points ahead of Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano



Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images

Rayo Vallecano scored twice at Estadio de Vallecas when they faced Barcelona earlier this season, albeit on two different ends of the field.

An own goal from Florian Lejeune cancelled out Unai Lopez’s opener in the 82nd minute to give the Catalans a draw, but the match left fans with an understanding of just how threatening Rayo can be when in full flow.

Come Sunday, the two teams will meet again in La Liga, this time in the penultimate round of the competition with not much remaining to fight for.

The game will still be hard-fought, nevertheless, with Inigo Perez’s side desperate to earn at least a more respectable finish on the league standings.

Barça Universal bring you three talking points ahead of Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano.

Tumultuous politics

The past 48 hours in Catalonia have seen a serious escalation of internal politics in the Barcelona offices, and the sequelae spoken of could detrimentally impact the team’s planning ahead.

Jolted by Xavi’s recent comments in a recent press conference, the club president and his board are furious and are said to be close to sacking the manager very soon.

Considering that the manager’s continuity was only announced less than a month ago, the sudden change in the club’s stance can only be termed as a hellish situation that serves no party any good.

Twelve hours ago, it was uncertain if Xavi would even oversee the Catalans’ clash against Rayo Vallecano with an immediate sacking spoken of.

No conclusion was reached in yesterday’s meeting, however, and the Spanish tactician will live to see another match from the sidelines.

With such uncertainty looming over the managerial position in Catalonia and multiple forces aligned against the coach, tomorrow could well be one of, if not the last game Xavi oversees for Barcelona.

Sealing the spot

Heading into the clash of the season, there is not much left for Barcelona to fight for except the second spot in La Liga. That in itself, however, is vital for the Blaugranas for reasons that transcend the mere sporting aspect of the project.

Second place in sight. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images)

With the summer transfer window just around the corner, the Catalans are still strapped for cash and far from stable in a financial sense. At such a juncture, every penny that enters the club’s coffers is valuable making it a non-negotiable for the Catalans to finish second.

A sum of €8 million, a place in the Spanish Super Cup and a direct slot in the Round of 16 of the Copa del Rey awaits the team to finish behind Real Madrid in the league standings.

Barcelona took a big step towards the same with their win over Real Sociedad and can seal their place as the runners-up with a win tomorrow.

With two games remaining, Xavi’s men are placed in second place on 79 points with Girona closely behind on 75 points. A win tomorrow will take Xavi’s side to 82 points which will be enough to guarantee second-place given that Girona can achieve a maximum of 81 points.

A night of uncertain farewells

Sunday’s clash will be Barcelona’s final game of the season at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys, signifying the end of the team’s campaign at home.

It thus goes unsaid that the game will be the last time the Barcelona faithful at Montjuic will get to witness some players in the Blaugrana colours. With the upcoming transfer window expected to be explosive, it is not ruled out that it could be the case for some mainstays as well.

For starters, the likes of Marcos Alonso and Oriol Romeu will certainly say their goodbyes to the Barcelona fans as their departure next month is all but confirmed. It thus becomes a dilemma for Xavi to decide if he must give them minutes on the night.

Beyond the certainties, however, is a long list of players who ‘could’ leave the team. Given that very few players at this point are untransferable at this point leaves the door wide open.

Joao Cancelo and Joao Felix, whose loan renewal status is uncertain, are higher up on the list of potential departures while Ronald Araujo, Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and Vitor Roque are some of the others on the list.

It will thus be a bizarre night for the fans in attendance. There will be some big farewells to say, but the identity of the players in question is still unknown.

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