Injuries becoming a concern for Barcelona
The international break is notorious for injuries and the FIFA virus may have struck again with several Barcelona players struggling with knocks.
Of course Lionel Messi will take all the headlines after missing both of Argentina’s friendlies. We don’t know how serious his hamstring problem is but Argentina certainly didn’t want to risk him.
Elsewhere, Marc-Andre ter Stegen picked up a knee problem with Germany, Lucas Digne was forced off for France against Colombia and Gerard Pique did not look at all comfortable against Argentina at times.
On the plus side both Nelson Semedo and Denis Suarez returned to training over the break and the latest news is that Sergio Busquets should be fit in time for Roma in the Champions League.
Iniesta shouldn’t go to China just yet
Andres Iniesta played the first 45 minutes against Germany and 55 minutes against Argentina and showed he still has a major role to play on the international scene.
The midfielder has until the end of April to decide if he will stay at Barcelona or head to the riches on offer in the Far East but on this form it would be a real shame if he left now.
He could end the season on the ultimate high, winning the treble with Barcelona and the World Cup with Spain - and maybe that would be the perfect way to say goodbye.
But it would still be too soon for such an incredible player.
Spain will take some beating
Spain enjoyed some pretty tough fixtures over the break taking on Germany and Argentina but they showcased their credentials in both games.
Julen Lopetegui’s side are a lot of fun to watch, so good on the ball, skillful in possession and under their new(ish) coach they always score.
18 - Julen Lopetegui's Spain have scored in all their 18 games, the best streak for a Spanish team's manager ever. Flow pic.twitter.com/a9SAspPnS5— OptaJose (@OptaJose) March 27, 2018
Germany will probably head to Russia as favourites to lift the famous trophy, but on this form and with such strength in depth Spain are in with a huge shout.
So are Brazil....but Messi has his work cut out
Brazil are also going to take some stopping with a team that simply oozes class. They brushed aside Russia and beat Germany and all without Neymar who was at home with his feet up.
Barcelona duo Philippe Coutinho and Paulinho are major players under Tite but there’s quality all over the pitch with Dani Alves, Willian, Marcelo and Gabriel Jesus all top quality.
They may also have a point to prove after hosting the last World Cup and suffering that defeat to Germany in the semi-finals.
Argentina are a different story altogether after a thrashing by Spain. It’s difficult to read too much into friendlies but there was a clear gap in quality between the two sides which even Lionel Messi will struggle to filll.
Tiredness may take its toll against Sevilla
Barcelona have had the majority of their squad away for the last couple of weeks and some of the players have really put in some mileage.
The biggest travellers have been Luis Suarez who has been out in China with Uruguay while Ivan Rakitic has been in the US with Croatia.
Meanwhile, Philippe Coutinho and Paulinho went to Russia, as did Lucas Digne, Ousmane Dembele and Lucas Digne - let’s hope the travelling done not take its toll against Sevilla on Saturday.
Messi has his work cut out