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How to catch Barcelona stars in action during the international break

There’s little rest for Ernesto Valverde’s men

France v Argentina: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

It’s international break time once again which means no games for Barcelona and most of the players jetting off around the world to join up with their national teams.

Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele will be noticeable absentees due to injury, but a lot of the players will be in action over the international break.

Here’s a look at what they will be up to over the next week or two.

Lionel Messi

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi is back in action with Argentina for the first time since the 2018 World Cup, having taken a bit of a break from international duty.

Messi has been training at Valdebebas ahead of Argentina’s game against Venezuela at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium on Friday. It’s expected that Messi will play in that game but not in Argentina’s second match against Morocco on Tuesday.

Arthur and Philippe Coutinho

Arthur and Philippe Coutinho are with Brazil for their two friendlies. Tite’s men take on Panama in Portugal on Saturday and then head to the Czech Republic for a second match on Tuesday.

Coutinho may feel relieved to be away from Barcelona and back with Brazil after a pretty tough season where his form has been under scrutiny, while Arthur will be hoping for more minutes with the national team.

Jeison Murillo

Jeison Murillo has barely featured since swapping Valencia for Barcelona in the winter. The centre-back has managed just two Copa del Rey appearances and hasn’t featured in La Liga at all for Barca. He’s still been called up to the Colombia squad for games against Japan on Friday in Yokohama and South Korea in Seoul four days.

Arturo Vidal

Arturo Vidal also has some travelling to do with the Chile squad. The midfielder is in America for games against Mexico in San Diego and the United States in Houston.

Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto

Barcelona’s Spanish contingent play two Euro 2020 qualifiers over the international break. Luis Enrique’s side host Norway on Saturday and then play in Malta on Tuesday. La Roja will be expected to win both games and get their qualifying campaign off to the perfect start.

Meanwhile, Carles Alena is with the Spain Under-21 squad and will be hoping to make his debut. The team play games against Romania and Austria.

Samuel Umtiti

Samuel Umtiti is back with the France squad after injury and will be hoping to start for Didier Deschamps’ World Cup winners. Les Bleus play Moldova on Friday and then host Iceland in Euro 2020 qualifying. The Barca defender faces a bit of a battle to get his place back at the Camp Nou from Clement Lenglet but a couple of impressive showings for the national team will hope his cause.

Nelson Semedo

Nelson Semedo’s impressive form for Barcelona has seen him back in the Portugal squad. Fernando Santos’ side host Ukraine and Serbia in two Euro 2020 qualifiers as they bid to retain their title. The Barca full-back has been left out of recent squads so will be hoping to impress and force his way back into contention.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen

Marc-Andre ter Stegen is with the Germany squad but may have to endure more frustration on the bench. Manager Jurgen Low has discarded Thomas Müller, Jérôme Boateng and Mats Hummels from his squad but Manuel Neuer remains and is still first choice. “I have not changed my opinion at all, Neuer is my starting goalkeeper,” said Low after announcing the squad, although he did say he’d give Ter Stegen chances to play.

Low’s new-look Germany play a friendly against Serbia on Wednesday and then kick off their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign against Netherlands on Sunday.

Jasper Cillessen

Speaking of Netherlands, Jasper Cillessen will be back in action for the national team in their Euro 2020 games against Belarus and Germany. The goalkeeeper has had some bad luck this season, with an injury meaning he missed out on Barca’s Copa del Rey clash against Real Madrid.

Thomas Vermaelen

Thomas Vermaelen is fit again after his latest calf injury and back in the Belgium squad. The defender looks to be in his final season at Barca and will be hoping for some minutes in Belgium’s qualifiers against Russia and Cyprus.

Ivan Rakitic

And finally, there’s no rest for Ivan Rakitic as he has joined up with the Croatia squad. The World Cup finalists play Azerbaijan in Zagreb on Thursday and then travel to Hungary on Sunday.

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