Xavi remains torn apart between Barcelona wonderkid and veteran soldier


Barcelona's Spanish coach Xavi attends a training session at the Joan Gamper training ground in Sant Joan Despi, near Barcelona, on January 30, 2024.
Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images

It seems that the selection dilemmas at Barcelona continue to run rampant. With two competitions still alive for La Blaugrana, rotations and selections have to be precise. However, it seems that Barcelona will need to be cautious as they encounter elite opponents.

The next game in line for Barcelona is a clash against Athletic Club in La Liga. An important encounter, it would be telling in terms of how Barça proceed with their league campaign and a win would be crucial to ensure that they remain hot on the tails of the leaders.

Ahead of the game, however, Xavi Hernandez has been tasked with choosing the perfect eleven. While the other positions are also worth looking at and assessing, SPORT has taken time out to highlight and try to figure out who starts in the center-back positions.

The only guarantee remains Ronald Araujo, with the Uruguayan defender a mainstay for Xavi, especially in the most heated games. However, the position alongside him will be vacant and thus far uncertain. The two names who are now in contention to take over it, however, are Pau Cubarsi and Inigo Martinez.

In Cubarsi’s case, the player has already set a precedent with his elite performance against Getafe. A game worth remembering, it showcased exactly why the 17-year-old is looked at as a generational talent who can lead the Barcelona back line for years to come.

Martinez, on the other hand, is a hardened veteran of the game. While he could not play against Athletic Club last time out in the Copa Del Ray defeat due to injury, he is now available for the same trip to San Mames but in La Liga. It would be a homecoming for him, and his experience against his former club could be a saving grace for Barcelona.

Cubarsi remains tested, and so does Inigo Martinez, but Xavi’s call will be final. Either the Barcelona coach decides to take a bet on the young blood with technical mastery, or he decides to bet on the old dog who knows Athletic’s tricks and will want to make an impression against his former team.

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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