Is This FC Barcelona Player Next To Be Dropped By Xavi?

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FC Barcelona could drop another one of its main stars as head coach Xavi Hernandez rotates players in a packed calendar.

On Tuesday in Hamburg, it was Joao Felix’s turn to sit on the bench for a Champions League meeting with Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Portuguese hadn’t been a substitute since before the September international break when he was gradually being worked into the first team after joining Barca on loan from Atletico Madrid on transfer deadline day in the summer window.

Barca failed to have a single shot on goal until well past 60 minutes in the eventual 1-0 loss that was their second defeat in three games.

Felix was brought on as part of a quadruple substitution to little avail, and scuffed a chance to key equalize created by teenager Lamine Yamal.

With Ferran Torres and Raphinha limp against the Ukrainians, Felix and Lamine could get the nod for Sunday’s hosting of Alaves at the Montjuic Stadium in La Liga.

As suggested by SPORT, though, another leading star for the Blaugrana could be dropped and rotated in Ilkay Gundogan.

Joining on a free transfer from Manchester City ahead of 2023/2024, the German hasn’t stopped all season with his only deployment as substitute the 26 minutes he picked up against Real Betis on September 26 where he replaced Oriol Romeu.

Notching the most minutes overall – 1,361 – he has made 11 consecutive appearances and played 990 minutes since the 5-0 routing of Manuel Pellegrini’s men.

With Frenkie de Jong absent, Gundogan has moved back to the pivot position to replace Romeu in his slump in form.

Against Alaves, Romeu could recover his berth as he did versus Shakhtar, while Fermin Lopez and Gavi, or perhaps one of the Andalusians and Pedri occupy the more attacking midfield slots.

Unlike Gundogan who will play against his parents’ birthland Turkey and Austria, Pedri wasn’t called up for his country Spain’s fixtures across the upcoming international break.

A lack of match rhythm was the reason for the snub according to AS, and Pedri could start to find some of that again against Alaves after a late August knock to his right quadriceps.



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