Barcelona round-up: Bravo, Messi, Mascherano, Luis Enrique...
Barça's sporting director on Claudio Bravo's future, Leo Messi in seventh heaven and cause for complaint despite another trophy win.
Bravo to feature against Betis
Barcelona sporting director Robert Fernández confirmed after Wednesday's Spanish Super Cup win over Sevilla that seemingly Manchester City-bound goalkeeper Claudio Bravo will this weekend play for Los Azulgranas - who have fellow stopper Marc André ter Stegen out injured - in their LaLiga opener against Real Betis.
But he hinted Bravo could then depart by the end of the transfer window. "He'll be with us on Saturday," Fernández said of the 33-year-old, who saved a penalty in what had been suggested could be his final game for Barça. "After that we'll see what happens. If in the end he leaves, logically a keeper will have to come in first."
Valencia's Diego Alves is being heavily tipped to replace Bravo, while Napoli custodian Pepe Reina has vehemently denied reports he has offered his services to Barça, the club where he began his career, to fill the hole left by the Chilean.
Mascherano muscle misery
One man who won't be involved against Betis is defender Javier Mascherano, who limped off late on in Barça's 3-0 second-leg victory over Jorge Sampaoli's side. Following the clash, the Catalan club released a medical report announcing that the 32-year-old Argentine will be out for about a week with a hamstring strain.
Barcelona boss questions Super Cup
Despite lifting the one piece of club silverware that had so far eluded him, Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique moved to question the need to contest the Spanish Super Cup if a side completes a league and cup double the previous season.
Barça's championship triumph meant Sevilla qualified for this term's domestic curtain-raiser despite losing the Copa final to Los Azulgranas, and Enrique said: "When there's a winner of both LaLiga and the Copa del Rey, it doesn't make sense to play the Super Cup."
Messi wins record seventh Super Cup
Leo Messi rounded off the scoring on Wednesday to consolidate his status as the competition's all-time leading marksman with 12 goals - in what was a record seventh career Super Cup win for the 29-year-old. He overtakes Barça legend and former team-mate Xavi Hernández.
Barcelona's protracted striker search
Fernández also discussed Barcelona's continued search for back-up up front, explaining: "We've been working for quite a while on bringing in a striker and we know what we want." The club are being strongly linked with Valencia's Paco Alcácer, while reports in the UK have emerged of a possible shock swoop for West Bromwich Albion's Salomón Rondón.
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