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A Barcelona still under construction heads into El Clásico

Real Madrid are a daunting opponent for a team that’s still in the early stages of development

FC Barcelona Present New Player Ferran Torres Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

FC Barcelona will have Ferran Torres finally available against Real Madrid. It wasn’t that long ago that the Spanish international was not just injured, but COVID positive, and in any case could not be registered due to salary cap issues. Now, he’s ready to go, either from the start or off the bench.

In addition, Pedri, Ronald Araújo, Ansu Fati, and Frenkie de Jong have all recently passed fit.

Considering it’s a single-match elimination game, some of those players will surely take part. But they all will be far from 100% given the fact they are coming back just in time to play.

There are the beginnings of a great team under Xavi, which will only come to fruition with the right development, right signings, and of course, time. But that’s all there is right now - the very beginning of that.

This Real Madrid may not be the most vintage version of los blancos, but it’s surely far beyond where Barcelona are right now.

Familiarity needs to be built between Torres and the rest of the group. Certain players have to build up fitness, others rhythm, and others need to go through the growing pains it takes to graduate from the B team to a regular in the senior team. There is a learning curve for everyone to adapt to Xavi’s methods, as well.

This isn’t to say Barcelona have no chance in el clásico. Form can go out of the window in rivalry games, with teams lacking form suddenly discovering their flow, and just as much, teams that look strong as ever failing to dominate.

However, Barcelona are second favorite in this Spanish Supercup semifinal for sure.

Xavi wants to use this match as a proving ground, even if his team does not win. Of course, winning his first clásico in charge would be huge. But even that is not necessary in the long run. Right now, it’s mainly about developing the talents. Any loss would certainly sting, but Xavi is surely taking that long-term view into account first and foremost.