Barcelona return to La Liga action after the international break on Monday night against Real Valladolid at the Camp Nou.
Ronald Koeman has some big decisions to make over his team selection, particularly regarding Frenkie de Jong and Lionel Messi who are both one yellow card away from suspension.
Barca’s next La Liga fixture is against Real Madrid at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium and Koeman certainly won’t want to be without either player for what will be a crucial fixture against Los Blancos.
Koeman doesn’t really like being without De Jong but it might not be a bad idea to give the midfielder a rest for this one. The 23-year-old played 90 minutes in all three of the Netherlands’ World Cup qualifiers over the international break.
The Barca boss has plenty of options too in defense and midfield when it comes to replacing De Jong, particularly with Ronald Araujo back to full fitness and Sergi Roberto expected to be in the matchday squad.
Messi is in a slightly different situation to De Jong as he’s had a good rest over the last fortnight. Argentina’s World Cup qualifiers were postponed, meaning the captain should be raring to go against Real Valladolid.
It would be a surprise if Messi didn’t start and he’ll know he’ll need to be careful. Monday’s referee Jaime Latre has handed the Barca skipper a few controversial yellow cards before, against Sevilla in 2016-17 and Athletic in 2018-19.
Koeman’s thinking about De Jong and Messi could be influenced by the fact the visitors will be without up to 12 players for Monday’s match, according to Sport. Real Valladolid have been hit by injuries and a Covid-19 outbreak that has disrupted their preparations.
So what should Koeman do with De Jong and Messi against Real Valladolid? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!