19-year-old Barcelona Atletic defender named in the squad for the game against Rayo

Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

FC Barcelona have always laid emphasis on their commitment to developing and promoting youth talent from within the academy. Current manager, Xavi Hernández has played his part to continue this tradition and his latest inclusion to the team squad comes in the form of a talented Morrocon defender.

FC Barcelona continue their La Liga title charge on 26th April against Rayo Vallecano, while they can’t ensure their title outcome during this encounter but they can extend their unbeaten streak to eight league matches. The club will travel without Christensen, Dembele, and Sergi Roberto as they remain sidelined. Garcia or Kessie could fill in for Busquets, as the Spanish maestro is suspended.

This gives way to unexpected inclusions in the first-team squad, Xavi has welcomed back 19-year-old Morrocon defensive prodigy Chadi Riad who was last included in a line-up on November 8th of 2022. The central defender made his debut versus Osasuna when he was brought on as a last-minute substitute for Pedri González, managing to secure a 1-2 defeat with ten players due to Robert Lewandowski’s early dismissal.

With Eric Garcia expected to play as a defensive midfielder in the absence of Sergio Busquets, Riad is included as a secondary outlet at the center-back spot, capable of playing to the left side as well. This surprising call-up to the first team doesn’t impact the B team’s coach Rafa Marquez’s plans, as he’s currently short on defensive options but the subsidiary team doesn’t play until Saturday.

Chadi Riad, with his defensive abilities and a keen tactical understanding of the game, adds versatility to the squad as he is capable of playing in numerous positions in the backline. Furthermore, his composure and ball-playing ability make him an ideal fit for Barcelona’s style of play under Xavi Hernández.

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