Four Barcelona players who can replace Cancelo against Atletico Madrid

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Barcelona's Spanish coach Xavi attends a training session with teammates on the eve of the UEFA Champions League last 16 first leg football match between Napoli and Barcelona at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium on February 20, 2024.
Photo by CARLO HERMANN/AFP via Getty Images

Within La Liga, very few matchups come close to the anticipation of Barcelona taking on Atletico Madrid. La Blaugrana are set to travel to Madrid to take on their rivals led by Diego Simeone. However, ahead of the match, Barcelona have shared some less-than-ideal news with their squad list.

Their primary fullback, Joao Cancelo, will not be making the trip to Madrid. Due to some sort of physical problems, the Portuguese star will have to miss the clash against Atletico Madrid. Instead, Barcelona will have to devise some formula to replace him in the starting eleven.

Unfortunately, with Alejandro Balde injured as well, the options for Barcelona are severely limited, especially in the left-back department. As per SPORT, however, there are a few different ways in which Barcelona can look to create a formula that could possibly work for them.

One of the options that Barcelona could opt for is that of Hector Fort. The 17-year-old fullback from the quarry has become a regular traveller with the Barcelona first team, and provides a real option for Xavi to use as an alternative to Cancelo.

While he is naturally a right-back, he possesses the versatility to be able to be deployed as a left-back. Even though this forces him to play with his less favored left foot, he has shown himself to be capable of playing like that as he has done so on previous outings against the likes of Villarreal, Alaves, Getafe, Barbastro, and Athletic Club.

Another option would be to use Inigo Martinez as a left-back. Furthermore, the Spaniard can even be used as part of a three-man center-back formation. That variety is something that is accessible for Xavi thanks to the fact that Martinez is dominantly left-footed.

Sergi Roberto is also someone Xavi can count on to help in this situation. The Spanish midfielder is one of the most versatile players in the squad, and his ability to adapt gives Barcelona the option to deploy him as a left-back. However, the last time he ever played in that position was back in 2019.

The last option for Xavi comes in the form of the only natural left-back currently fit. Marcos Alonso, now back from his injury, is the one left-footed fullback within the Barcelona squad that is traveling to Madrid. However, given the fact that he has just returned from injury, it would be unlikely to see him start right away.

Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun is a life-long fan of FC Barcelona and an avid enjoyer of all things Blaugrana. Having fallen in love with the club for the way they defined football for him, he now spends his time watching games, analyzing the happenings in them, and digesting any and everything related to his beloved Catalan club. He also writes as an author for Barca News Network hoping to deliver the latest updates to his fellow ‘culés’.

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