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FC Barcelona Receives Huge Double Squad Boost For Spanish Super Cup

FC Barcelona has received a huge boost for its defense of the Spanish Super Cup title, as confirmed by the publishing of the squad list on Tuesday morning in Catalonia.

Barca heads to Saudi Arabia as defending champions in the competition, which this time last year brought the first piece of silverware in Xavi Hernandez’s head coach reign.

The Catalans beat bitter rivals Real Madrid 3-1 in the final in Riyadh, with teenager Gavi the Player of the Match for running riot and both scoring and providing an assist for Robert Lewandowski in the first half.

On this occasion, however, the Spain star will play no part in the proceedings after picking up an ACL tear on international duty in November which has put an end to his club season and also ruled him out of Euro 2024 with his country.

The turn of this week saw Barca confirm that Inigo Martinez will miss the Super Cup with an “injury to the biceps femoris muscle in his left thigh”.

Martinez lasted barely 10 minutes after coming on as a substitute against Barbastro in the Copa del Rey on Sunday, and could be out for up to five weeks according to SPORT which leaves Xavi short-handed in central defense.

The defender appeared to have followed a similar trajectory to right back Joao Cancelo, who pulled up injured at the beginning of last Thursday’s win over Las Palmas.

When questioned on the Portuguese’s recovery from a left MCL strain, though, Xavi dismissed reports suggesting he could also sit out the trip to the Middle East, which have proven untrue.

Cancelo has been included in the squad list for the Spanish Super Cup after all. But the biggest boost here is seeing Pedri’s name among the 25 players as well.

Though it is unclear whether the midfielder is fit enough to start against Osasuna on Thursday, he could feature towards the end of the semi-final against the Basques, earn some minutes, and then possibly go for broke against Real Madrid or Atletico in the final if Barca is victorious in the last four.

At the same time, however, Xavi will want to be careful with Pedri and not risk him pulling up with the kind of muscular or hamstring injury that has been a constant since his rise to the first team in 2020.

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