Predicted Barcelona Lineup For The Pre-Season Friendly Against Juventus
Barcelona will embark on a trip to the United States, to take part in the International Champions Cup 2017 as a part of their pre-season campaign, under new manager Ernesto Valverde.
The Spanish giants will be kicking things off with an encounter against Italian Serie A champions Juventus and will then take on English giants Manchester United, followed by a pre-season El Clasico against archrivals Real Madrid.
The Catalans have named a full-strength squad for the tour, with the famed trio of Leo Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez in the roster. The only notable absentees are midfielder Andre Gomes and goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen who were involved in the FIFA Confederations Cup with Portugal and Germany respectively. Here’s the full roster:
Goalkeepers: Jasper Cillessen, Adrián Ortolá
Defenders: Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Lucas Digne, Samuel Umtiti, Aleix Vidal, Marlon Santos, Douglas, Thomas Vermaelen, Marc Cucurella, Sergi Palencia
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Javier Mascherano, Andrés Iniesta, Ivan Rakitić, Rafinha, Arda Turan, Denis Suárez, Sergi Roberto, Sergi Samper, Carles Aleñá
Forwards: Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr., Luis Suárez, Paco Alcácer, Munir El Haddadi, Gerard Deulofeu
Here’s how Valverde might field his Barcelona side against Juventus in the US.
Probable Barcelona XI
Manager: Ernesto Valverde
Jasper Cillessen (GK)
The last summer’s arrival was hardly given a chance to impress during the 2016/17 campaign. With ter Stegen unavailable, this will be his opportunity to make an impression on the new boss and stake a claim for the No.1 spot.
Sergi Palencia (RB)
The Barcelona ‘B’ team captain has been impressive for the past couple of years and has shown immense potential. With the right-back slot up for grabs, he will want to grab the opportunity.
Marlon Santos (CB)
The youngster impressed each time he was given a run out by former boss Luis Enrique and Valverde also could start off giving the youth talent some minutes in the pre-season.
Samuel Umtiti (CB)
Arguably Barcelona’s best defender from last season, the Frenchman has emerged as a leader at the back. He will want to make a similar impact on the new manager and start off on a strong note.
Lucas Digne (LB)
A major disappointment from last season, Digne will be fighting for his future at the club. With Jordi Alba as his competition for the slot, he will want to prove himself to Valverde and he maybe given a nod ahead of his experienced teammate.
Sergi Samper (DM)
Easily one of the most highly-rated players to have come out of the La Masia in recent years, Samper was shipped out on loan last campaign. Tipped as the heir-apparent to Sergio Busquets, he may start ahead of the senior pro.
Carles Alena (CM)
The youngster signed a new contract with the team recently and has been tipped for a bright future. Will most certainly be given a start in order for him to integrate with the first-team next season.
With a young and inexperienced midfield, there needs to be a senior statesman to guide them through and Valverde might task that to the maestro, Andres Iniesta. Will captain the team.
Gerard Deulofeu (RW)
The former academy man was re-signed from Premier League club Everton earlier this month. With Leo Messi returning late for training, he might be given a layoff, or some playing time over the second period.
Munir El Haddadi (ST)
Having returned from a loan spell with Valencia, the talented young man will be playing for his future with his club. He has the ability and needs to be given a chance to prove himself. Luis Suarez recently returned and he maybe given some minutes in the second-half.
With a largely young and inexperienced attack, Valverde might give the Brazilian superstar a run from the kick-off for the first 45 minutes or so.