Is there anyone that genuinely believes that international football friendlies are a good idea? Particularly when they fall just a few weeks before the start of a World Cup.
In Barcelona’s case, there’s also the small matter of an important Clasico fixture to consider, coming as it does in three weeks’ time. Not to mention a Champions League double header against Internazionale and more.
All of those upcoming fixtures will likely need to be approached without Jules Kounde in situ after the Frenchman sustained an injury against Austria that is likely to keep him out for a few weeks.
Given the balance that the player has given to Barca’s back four since making his debut for the Catalans, the blow has come at a most inconvenient juncture for Xavi.
With Ronald Araujo also picking up a muscular issue, it not only means a likely right-back berth for an out of position Sergi Roberto or a starting berth for Hector Bellerin, but could see a reprieve for Gerard Pique if Xavi doesn’t trust Andreas Christensen and Eric Garcia as a first choice centre-back pairing.
With incredibly damaging revelations about Pique coming out in the media right about now, one can imagine that the centre-back will only get any decent game time if the club absolutely have to give it to him.
It’s obvious the love affair with him is over, however, and I’m sure if he could be offloaded in January, that’d be the best thing all round.
The bad news for Xavi doesn’t end there of course.
Both Memphis Depay and Frenkie de Jong were withdrawn early from the match that the Netherlands played against Robert Lewandowski’s Poland.
Depay might not be missed quite as much as the other trio, but his absence will be felt more keenly if Barca happen to pick up any other concerns with their front men in the near future.
After digging in his heels and staying at Barca, De Jong hasn’t really got going yet, so this enforced break hasn’t come at a great time for the Dutchman either.
Still, the situation is what it is and the squad will just have to get on with it. Xavi wanted two players in every position for precisely this type of eventuality, so it’s time for everyone else to step up and pull their weight.
Now we’ll see just how decent the depth of this squad really is… and how much of an outcast Pique remains.