Ronald Koeman has had a hectic time since taking over at Barcelona in August but is set for a quiet week with the majority of the squad now away on international duty.
The Dutch coach has had to deal with a chaotic summer transfer window, Messi’s attempt to leave, Bartomeu’s resignation and has now been hit by news of a serious injury to Ansu Fati.
Yet the final international break of the year will allow for some respite before Barca finish off 2020 with a run of 10 games between now and the end of December.
Barca will have just 10 first-teamers in for training this week with everybody else away or on the treatment table.
Goalkeepers Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Neto will be around along with defenders Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique, Junior Firpo and Samuel Umtiti.
Carles Alena and Riqui Puig will also be at the training ground after not being called up for Spain U21 duty along with Ousmane Dembele and Matheus Fernandes.
Meanwhile, Ansu Fati is due to undergo knee surgery on Monday morning, while Philippe Coutinho and Ronald Araujo are still on the injured list.
Barca are due to train on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and will then be given four days off before coming back the following Monday to start preparations for the trip to Atletico.
Koeman won’t have his full squad available until next Thursday giving him precious time to prepare for the game at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on November 21.
It’s looking like being a pretty crucial game too, even though we’re still in the early stages of the season. Barca are already six points behind Atleti and won’t want to fall further behind.
Koeman’s men actually head into the international break in eighth place in the table, nine points behind leaders Real Sociedad with two games in hand on Imanol Alguacil’s side.
Diego Simeone’s side sit third and a point behind Villarreal but have played two games less than the top two teams in La Liga.
Atleti have also conceded just twice in their opening seven games which should make for a very tough contest for Barca when they finally return to action after the international break.