Xavi to start promising 17-year-old defender as Barcelona face Almeria


MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 17: Hector Fort and Pau Cubarsi of FC Barcelona look on during a pitch inspection prior to the LaLiga EA Sports match between Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona at Civitas Metropolitano Stadium on March 17, 2024 in Madrid, Spain.
Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

After Girona fell to Villarreal in their last league encounter, FC Barcelona now have a clear path to finishing second in La Liga, and thus meet one of the revised objectives for this season, which will also guarantee them a spot in the next edition of the Spanish Super Cup.

In fact, the Catalans can ensure their second-spot finish if they win their upcoming match against Almeria, which is scheduled to take place tonight.

But, despite the importance of the match, Xavi is planning to field a significantly changed side for this game, especially keeping in view the high number of minutes that most of the starters have played this season.

According to SPORT, one of these changes is expected to be on the left flank, where Xavi can rest Joao Cancelo and play the youngster Hector Fort in his stead.

While the 17-year-old has been training with the first team for several months now, this will be the first time that he makes an appearance since April 13 when he played in the match against Cadiz.

He had also played in the match against Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano, as Cancelo was not available for either of these two matches because of a suspension and a family emergency.

Fort took his opportunities nicely, and played at a level good enough to gain Xavi’s confidence. His importance in Xavi’s plans is going to enhance next season, as he will practically be a first-team player available to play on both flanks, while still having a reserve team number.

Furthermore, the club’s confidence in the player is also displayed by the fact that the Catalans are already negotiating with his agents to improve on his current contract, which goes till 2025 and has a release clause of only €10 million. He will turn 18 years of age in August, and thus will be able to sign a long-term contract with Barcelona.

Ahmad Sarmad Ansari
Ahmad Sarmad Ansari
Ahmad Sarmad Ansari has been covering Spanish football as a writer for Barca News Network for the last one and a half year and as an amateur football fanatic for more than 10 years. He mainly covers on and off-field happenings taking place at Barcelona including transfer news, administrative changes, match reports, and any other eventful news coming out of the club.

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