Xavi’s decision to belatedly include Ronald Araujo, Robert Lewandowski and Ilkay Gundogan in his squad to face Antwerp reportedly came after a direct request from president Joan Laporta.
The trio had initially been left out of the travelling party, before the club subsequently confirmed they were in the squad. The reason given was a change to the team’s travel plans which means they will stay the night in Belgium.
However, RAC1 have a different theory altogether. They report that actually it was Laporta had made the call and told Xavi he neded to include the players. Laporta didn’t want players resting after a tough defeat to Girona.
There’re also a few financial considerations to think about too. Barca will net an extra €2.8m if they win the game against Antwerp. The Belgian side haven’t managed a single point yet in the group stage.
It remains to be seen if Xavi will use the players tonight even though they have made the trip. Araujo certainly may stay on the bench as he is a booking away from picking up a one-match ban in the competition.