The one Barcelona star who needs rest before the Napoli clash


BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 10: Robert Lewandowski of FC Barcelona celebrates with Jules Kounde and Ronald Araujo of FC Barcelona after scoring their team's first goal during the LaLiga EA Sports match between FC Barcelona and Girona FC at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys on December 10, 2023 in Barcelona, Spain.
Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

It appears that the limits of FC Barcelona continue to be tested on both a physical and mental level. Xavi himself has already bowed out, and knows that the task at hand has proven too much for him. However, even the Barcelona players are tiring, some definitely more than others.

Having drawn against Athletic Club, Barcelona are gradually losing their hope in a league comeback. Ultimately, it seems now that the maximum priority shifts towards the Champions League tie against Napoli. Before that game, however, comes the tie against Mallorca.

With Ronald Araujo already suspended, the Uruguayan will likely be replaced by Inigo Martinez. This should allow the Barcelona captain to get some rest before the clash against the side from Naples. Another star who does need rest yet continues to avoid it is Jules Kounde.

As per SPORT, the Frenchman is arguably the player who definitely needs rest against Mallorca. The La Liga clash does not hold as much importance anymore for Barcelona as the Napoli encounter, so Kounde could be rested and replaced by the likes of Joao Cancelo or Hector Fort.

So far in 2024, the 25-year-old Barcelona defender has played every single minute possible. Over the course of the last two months, January and February, Kounde has chained together 15 consecutive starts that have been a massive physical demand from him.

In total, this means that he has played every second out of the total possible 1380 available minutes of play. Moreover, these minutes over the last two months are close to almost half the total amount of time he has played across the entire campaign for Barcelona.

With his form also gradually improving, as his blunders have reduced and his awareness has improved, Kounde is a key piece for Xavi this season. Injuries elsewhere continue to plague Barcelona, but needing Araujo and Kounde to be fully fit for the Champions League clash at the Montjuic Stadium will be absolutely vital.

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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