With four hours until the first Clasico of the season kicks off at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys, Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez has finally announced his team for the big game.
In it, there are a couple of surprises. The good one is Jules Kounde, who has been included despite being expected to miss out after suffering a knee injury against Granada earlier this month. He could now be in contention to start alongside Andreas Christensen, with Ronald Araujo likely to move to right-back.
However, the bad news is that Frenkie de Jong hasn’t made it, despite reports that he would be available after making his return to training earlier this week. Xavi has decided against risking the Dutchman, and the same can be said for Pedri, who also isn’t included.
Raphinha is also included, as is Robert Lewandowski, although both players were expected to be in the squad after recovering from hamstring and ankle injuries respectively.
There’s no doubt that Kounde’s return is a massive boost for Barcelona, especially if he is fit enough to start. Alternately, de Jong’s absence is a blow, especially considering the strength of Real Madrid’s midfield.