Succeeding at a club like Barcelona requires a manager to make certain tough decisions. For Xavi Hernandez, these decisions have often made themselves easy this season. With his list of injured players having been quite long at various points, selections became clear.
However, as these key injured players begin to return, so do the selection dilemmas. While it is not inherently a bad thing for a manager to make tough decisions that will provide quality all around, it is still a gutting task to bench some of the other stars of the team.
Felix to be sacrificed
Such may end up being the case for Joao Felix, it seems. According to SPORT, once Dutch midfielder Frenkie De Jong marks his long-awaited return, it will be the Portuguese star who makes way for him in the starting eleven.
Considering the current status of proceedings, Felix no longer seems like an indispensable component of the team. While he does shine technically, the end product is simply missing. His initial matches for Barcelona this season were completely sublime, but that dazzle and shimmer has arguably died down.
A much-awaited return
Frenkie De Jong, on the other hand, is seen as the protagonist that Barcelona were missing. The Dutchman provides control and composure to a team that desperately needs an anchor like that. His performances also allow others around him to play with more freedom.
As such, once De Jong makes his return against Rayo Vallecano, Felix will have a lot to prove to Xavi. For now, it seems that the Barcelona manager hopes to deploy his Dutch maestro in a midfield with the likes of Gavi, Pedri, and Ilkay Gundogan accompanying him.
His attributes fit that profile much better than his Portuguese teammate’s. However, Felix will have a chance to prove himself in that same game against Rayo in which De Jong is expected to return. As his return would be fresh, Xavi may opt to proceed with caution and only allow De Jong a few minutes to play in that game.