Transfer Rumors and News

Barcelona key midfielder set to be benched as Xavi plans rotations vs Unionistas

Following the debacle against Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup, FC Barcelona will be aiming to bounce back to winning ways this week when they lock horns with Unionistas de Salamanca in the Copa del Rey.

Barça have been lucky in the draw as they face a lower league opponent in the Round of 16 and have a great chance to make it through to the quarter-finals of the competition with a win on Thursday.

At the same time, though, Xavi will have an eye on the crucial La Liga clash against Real Betis coming up on Sunday night.

Pedri to be benched

As such, Mundo Deportivo is reporting that Barcelona have decided to proceed with caution with key midfielder Pedri and bench him for the cup tie against Unionistas.

The Blaugrana superstar only made his comeback from yet another injury problem last week and exerting him again in such quick succession could be a risk.

As such, his minutes will be regulated in the games to come, with Barcelona prioritising having him fit and ready for the Real Betis clash rather than risking him against Unionistas de Salamanca.

Rotations likely

Fermin Lopez could start in the cup tie. (Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images)

Heading into the game, Barça have only 13 first-team players available for selection, with Joao Cancelo expected to miss out again, along with the likes of Inigo Martinez, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Gavi, Marcos Alonso, and Raphinha.

Regulations require Barcelona to have at least seven outfield players from the first-team roster on the pitch during the match, which ties Xavi’s hands to some extent when it comes to rotations.

But there are likely to be some changes made to the team, with Xavi likely to rotate his troops a little, reports SPORT.

The likes of Fermin Lopez, Oriol Romeu, and possibly even Joao Felix could get starts, while Lamine Yamal is ruled out due to suspension.

Hector Fort, who featured in the previous cup tie against Barbastro, could also be in line for minutes, along with fellow academy ace Marc Guiu.

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