Barcelona’s Champions League squad to play Porto: which players are injured?
Youngsters Lamine Yamal and Fermín López could be the beneficiaries of several injury issues which are hampering Barça coach Xavi.
Barcelona started their 2023-24 Champions League campaign with a bang a couple of weeks ago, thrashing Royal Antwerp 5-0 at Estadio Olímpico Lluís Companys in Montjuïc, with João Félix netting twice. However, following the win over the Belgian champions, head coach Xavi Hernández has seen key players struck by injury, with Frenkie de Jong forced off against Celta Vigo with an ankle injury, which will cause him to miss Wednesday’s clash away to Porto.
De Jong and Raphinha join Pedri in the treatment room
With Pedri also absent because of a thigh issue, Barça have been left somewhat light in midfield ahead of the trip to Portugal and indeed upcoming fixtures, which include the first match of the season against arch rivals Real Madrid. To make matters even worse, winger Raphinha suffered a hamstring injury in Friday’s win over Sevilla and joins de Jong and Pedri in sitting out the Porto game, with all three facing a race against time to be ready for El Clásico.
Araújo to return against Porto
Xavi has named a 20-man squad for the second Champions League group game, only 16 of which are regular first-team members. The injured trio would certainly have been in contention to start, although Uruguayan centre-back Ronald Araújo will return to the starting line-up after being rested against Sevilla.
Yamal and Fermín López pushing for starts
The good news for Barça is that two of their young starlets in particular have shown what they are capable of at the start of the season, with Lamine Yamal and Fermín López pushing for starting spots. Goalkeeper Ander Astralaja and midfielder Marc Casadó, who normally turn out for Barcelona Atlètic, the reserve team, have also been called upon for the trip to Portugal.
Xavi’s main selection conundrum is whether Oriol Romeu will play in midfield after coming on as a substitute against Sevilla. Ilkay Gündongan impressed in a more defensive role on Friday and could therefore continue in that position, with youngsters Gavi and López lining up either side of the German international in a midfield three. The team travelled to Porto on Tuesday morning (local time) and will train in the afternoon at Estádio do Dragão stadium.