The international break is finally here which is always frustrating so early in the season, but there’s still plenty of chance to catch Barcelona stars in action.
There’s not as many players involved as usual. Jordi Alba was dropped by Spain, Gerard Pique’s retired and Lionel Messi is, well, on a break from Argentina.
There are 12 players who are away with their national teams. Here’s what they will be up to over the next week or so.
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen
Barcelona’s goalkeeper will probably have to sit on the bench and watch Manuel Neuer in action for Germany’s two games. Die Mannschaft take on World Cup winners France in the newly-formed UEFA Nations League in Munich on Thursday. Given the two teams’ contrasting fortunes in Russia it’s a pretty tasty fixture. After that Germany head to Hoffenheim’s stadium to play Peru in a friendly.
Ousmane Dembele and Samuel Umtiti
Barcelona’s World Cup winners play two UEFA Nations League games over the international break. First up is Germany and then they head home to the Stade de France to welcome the Netherlands. Ousmane Dembele has had a strong start to the season with Barcelona so will be hoping to see some serious game time with Les Bleus.
Philippe Coutinho and Arthur
Brazil are in action with two friendlies in the United States. The first is against the US at the MetLife Stadium, the second against El Salvador at the FedExField. Philippe Coutinho should see some game time, while Arthur will be hoping to make an appearance. The 22-year-old has been called up before but has not yet made his senior debut.
Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto
The Luis Enrique era begins for Spain and has already attracted scrutiny with Alba left out. Sergi Roberto does make it into the squad after missing out on the World Cup. Spain play two UEFA Nations League games. They take on England at Wembley Stadium and then host Croatia at the Estadio Manuel Martínez Valero in Elche.
Summer signing Arturo Vidal should feature for Chile who play two friendlies in Asia. La Roja take on Japan at the Sapporo Dome and then face South Korea at the Suwon World Cup Stadium.
We haven’t seen Thomas Vermaelen in action for Barcelona this season yet, but he’s in Belgium’s squad for games gainst Scotland and Iceland. Belgium are away from home for both matches. The first is a friendly at Glasgow’s Hampden Park, the second a UEFA Nations League match in Reykjavik.
Croatia start off with a friendly in Portugal at the Estádio Algarve on Thursday, and then head to Spain for their clash with Croatia. Rakitic isn’t joining up with the squad until later this week so it’s unclear how much he’ll feature. Zlatko Dalic’s side were runners-up at the World Cup which makes their match-up with Spain a pretty interesting one.
Netherlands goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen has recovered from a rib injury and is in the Dutch squad. Ronald Koeman’s side play a friendly against Peru and then a UEFA Nations League clash against world champions France in Paris.
After opening his account for the season against Huesca on Sunday, Suarez is now off with Uruguay who have a friendly against Mexico in the United States. The two teams play at the NRG Stadium in Mexico. Edinson Cavani has beeen rested from the squad which means the attacking focus will be on Suarez to supply the goals.