clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ernesto Valverde’s 14 starters at Barcelona

The club have a clear picture of the 11 starters plus three substitutes for big matches

FC Barcelona Training and Press Conference Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

We hear talk of a “Gala XI,” but Ernesto Valverde has a Gala XIV. Assuming no suspensions and no injuries, the manager prefers to roll with the same 14 - 11 starters, 3 as subs - each time.

There’s 8 players who are practically fixed: Marc-André ter Stegen, Gerard Piqué, Clément Lenglet, Jordi Alba, Ivan Rakitić, Sergio Busquets, Lionel Messi, and Luis Suárez.

After that, 6 players are options: Nélson Semedo or Sergi Roberto, Ousmane Dembélé or Philippe Coutinho, Arthur or Arturo Vidal. There’s an argument that certain players are ahead of their competition, for example, Arthur ahead of Vidal. But in the end, the ones who don’t start tend to come on from the bench.

That means there is a battle for a spot along every line - defense, midfield, and attack.

Against Manchester United, Arthur started both legs, but Vidal came on for both. Semedo started the first leg and Roberto the second leg, but both took part in the two games. Dembélé was limited by injury and didn’t take part in the first leg, but came on in the second. Carles Aleñá was Valverde’s last sub in the first leg, but it was for a few seconds only.

Aleñá is part of a further group of players who seem to be top of the rotation after the Gala XIV. He’s the top midfielder outside of the 14. In defense, Samuel Umtiti, when fit, is clearly Valverde’s third defender. And Malcom is the fourth forward. Of course, Jasper Cillessen is the backup goalkeeper.

Ter Stegen and Piqué are Valverde’s most used players, with Alba not too far behind. Busquets is the most used midfielder, while Suárez is the most used forward.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Barca Blaugranes Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Barca news from Barca Blaugranes