The next Barcelona match is upon us! In a few hours, the Blaugrana will open the doors of Camp Nou for the second leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie against Paris Saint-Germain. After getting a 3-1 advantage away from home last week, Barça is in comfortable position to advance to the semifinal even with a 2-0 loss.
Of course, losing is not an option for the Catalans, so manager Luis Enrique will not treat this game as a pre-season affair. He loves to play mind games with opposing coaches, and he did so again today when he decided to select all 23 first-team players to form the squad for the match, thus putting some doubts on Laurént Blánc's head in terms of who's actually playing. Lucho can only have 18 in uniform, so he is going to cut five players hours before the game.
All 23 players have been part of the squad at some point this season, except one. Thomas Vermaelen will make his anticipated squad list debut. He hasn't been cleared for action by the doctors yet, but being named to the squad is certainly an indication that his actual footballing debut with the Blaugrana is right around the corner.
You know all of them, but just in case, these are the 23 players named by Lucho for the match:
Goalkeepers: 1. Marc-André ter Stegen, 13. Claudio Bravo, 25. Jordi Masip
Defenders: 2. Martín Montoya, 3. Gerard Piqué, 14. Javier Mascherano, 15. Marc Bartra, 16. Douglas Pereira, 18. Jordi Alba, 21. Adriano, 22. Dani Alves, 23. Thomas Vermaelen, 24. Jérémy Mathieu
Midfielders: 4. Ivan Rakitic, 5. Sergio Busquets, 6. Xavi Hernández, 8. Andrés Iniesta, 12. Rafinha Alcântara, 20. Sergi Roberto
Forwards: 7. Pedro Rodríguez, 9. Luis Suárez, 10. Lionel Messi, 11. Neymar Jr.
Expected Starting Lineup (4-3-3) and substitutes:
Stegen; Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Iniesta; Messi, Suárez, Neymar
Bench: Bravo; Adriano, Mathieu, Bartra, Xavi, Rafinha, Pedro
Players cut: Masip, Montoya, Douglas, Vermaelen, Roberto
The match starts at 20:45 CET, and you can follow and comment all the action right here, at Barça Blaugranes.
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