The personnel issues facing La Liga giants Barcelona are beginning to mount ahead of the club’s upcoming Champions League meeting with Napoli.
Barcelona vs Napoli
Quique Setien’s men are set to get their European campaign back underway in a little under two weeks’ time.
After surrendering their Spanish top-flight crown to arch rivals Real Madrid earlier this month, Barca will no doubt be desperate to get things back on track by booking their spot in the Champions League’s final-8.
Standing in the way of the Blaugrana? Napoli.
A hard-fought first-leg at the Stadio San Paolo late in February eventually saw the Catalans salvage a 1-1 draw, after Antoine Griezmann cancelled out Dries Mertens’ opener.
As outlined above, however, the tricky task facing Barcelona on August 8th could well be made considerably more difficult by a series of issues on the personnel front.
First off, both Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal are certain to miss out versus Napoli, with the midfield duo suspended.
Attackers Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele, meanwhile, are viewed as doubts, with respective injury problems.
In addition, joining the aforementioned pair on the treatment table are central-defenders Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet.
The former has already been ruled out of the last-16 2nd-leg clash, whilst Lenglet continues to struggle with a groin issue.
And, incredibly, just when it appeared as though the woes at the heart of Barca’s backline couldn’t worsen any further, Ronald Araujo, who has impressed as part of Quique Setien’s first-team setup of late, picked up an ankle sprain whilst lining out for the club’s B-team versus Sabadell on Sunday night.
This means that, as per Marca, the Blaugrana could be left with just one fully-fit centre-half (Gerard Pique) for their meeting with Napoli.
BARCELONA, SPAIN – AUGUST 15: Gerard Pique of FC Barcelona reacts during the Joan Gamper Trophy match between FC Barcelona and Boca Juniors at Camp Nou on August 15, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
On top of the aforementioned list of issues, though, comes yet another, in the form of Arthur.
In something of a surprise move last month, it was of course confirmed that Brazilian midfielder Arthur is set to depart the Camp Nou this summer, for Serie A powerhouse Juventus.
The 23-year-old has since not been afforded a single minute of playing time by Quique Setien, with the likes of Ivan Rakitic, Frenkie de Jong and even youngster Riqui Puig now firmly ahead of Arthur in the pecking order at the Camp Nou.
Nevertheless, the former Gremio man was expected to see out the campaign with Barca, whilst making himself fully available for selection.
If the latest word spreading across Europe this evening is to be believed, however, then Arthur appears to have absolutely no intention of doing so.
It is claimed that the gifted midfielder returned to his home country of Brazil after being granted a break by Barcelona, and has since ‘notified the club that he will not return.’
It is added that:
‘Barca have warned Arthur that he will be violating his contract and will face fines for his conduct, but he is standing firm and refuses to represent Quique Setien’s side again.’
Arthur has refused to return from Brazil! 😬
— Goal News (@GoalNews) July 27, 2020
The personnel issues facing La Liga giants Barcelona are beginning to mount ahead of the club’s upcoming Champions League meeting with Napoli. Barcelona vs Napoli Quique Setien’s men are set to get their European campaign back underway in a little under two weeks’ time. After surrendering their Spanish top-flight crown to arch rivals Real MadridFootball (soccer) greatest goals and highlights | 101 Great Goals – Feed