Xavi has confirmed the status of new duo Hector Bellerin and Marcos Alonso, plus Ansu Fati and Miralem Pjanic, ahead of his side’s Champions League opener against Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday night.
The Camp Nou will host the opening clash for both sides, with Barcelona hoping to improve upon their poor third-placed finish and subsequent Europa League run last season, especially given the summer additions to the tune of £150m.
They will have to make a fast start, however, with their easiest game on paper coming first. They have also been drawn in a group with Bayern Munich, as they were 12 months ago, as well as Italian giants Inter Milan, both of whom will be confident of taking one of the qualification places, while one of the three European giants will, barring a minor miracle from Plzen, be dropping into the Europa League.
And Xavi has provided updates on the state of his squad ahead of the opener. Midfielder Miralem Pjanic will, by all accounts, not be a part of it much longer, with the Barca boss confirming that he is close to agreeing a move to Qatar side Sharjah FC.
“Pjanić has decided to leave for more opportunities — he has been a great professional, so I think he had chances here but everyone chooses their own path”, he explained.
The Spaniard also added that neither Bellerin nor Alonso will be in contention for the game, though both could be ready for Saturday’s La Liga clash with Cadiz.
“Bellerin and Alonso need to do more physical work, but they should be in the squad for Saturday”, the Barcelona legend said.
Finally, in good news for the Barca faithful, he confirmed that Ansu Fati was in contention to start on Wednesday night, adding that “I’ve spoken with Ansu and yes he’s prepared to start”.
Three points feels like a must for the Blaugrana.