Barcelona – Real Madrid (20.00)
Ferran Torres and Pedri traveled a day after the team, after testing negative in PCR. Ansu Fati is also ready. “You have to see how they are physically”, warns Xavi
The soundtrack of the charming Prince Faisal Stadium was the shouts of a group that has nothing to lose. The night covers Riyadh without contemplations and under the spotlights and the mist the Barcelona players appear. Just a couple of hours after Real Madrid have completed their training. In front, Xavi Hernandez, which nobody expected in that corner of the planet. To whom no one was waiting so soon at home. The current Barça coach was worshiped in Doha, some 500 kilometers from Riyadh, and turned into something similar to a Messiah due to the hardships and hardships of a team in need of illusion. Few, except him, of course, trust that feat in the classic, which would have been a victory without more in any other era. But it is what it touches.
In this Barcelona, any detail, no matter how minimal, is a boost to your mood. Hence the presence yesterday of Pedri Y Ferran torres During the last training session, it will invite you to immerse yourself in optimism. Both landed in the Saudi capital at noon along with the president, Joan Laporta. However, neither of them have something tangible to hold onto this season.
The Pedri marathon toll
Ferran’s last game, a winter signing to meet some of Xavi’s many needs, dates from October 10. It was during the end of the Nations League that Spain lost to France at San Siro. A broken right foot left him KO and he has not played a single minute. Even the Covid stormed by surprise after its presentation at the Camp Nou. The forward was registered yesterday
Pedri’s life, squeezed to the limit last year, with the Tokyo Olympics as the culmination of a grueling adventure (52 games and 3,526 minutes), has not been very different from that of his Spanish teammate. He played his last minutes in Lisbon, against Benfica, in the twilight of September. The rush to return, after suffering a muscle injury, led to a relapse that has kept him away from the spotlight for three and a half months. After conquering the Golden boy, the coronavirus, like so many others, wanted to pay him a visit at the last minute.
And he joined the cause on the same Monday Ansu Fati, also burdened by a muscular setback since November 6. The extreme, same as Frenkie de Jong Y Araújo, traveled to Arabia without medical discharge.
“We don’t want to lose more people”
“It is great news that both Ferran and Pedri can play, although we will see how they are both physically. There are five months of competition left and we don’t want to lose more people », Xavi acknowledged yesterday, on the eve of his first classic as a coach, two months after his advent. Winning would be a turning point; He would not give us the title, but it would be very important for us “, added in his reflection the Catalan coach, who does not forget the four consecutive defeats that his team drags in the last duels against Real Madrid, from which they separate 17 points in the League .
A distance that, however, does not lower the guard of Carlo Ancelotti, who yesterday, on the lectern next to Kroos, he distrusted that role of victim of Barcelona. “I would be worried if the players think we are favorites, but they don’t. They think we have to do everything to win it, “he said. Half an hour from the Rey Fahd stadium, the scene of the semifinal of the Spanish Super Cup, Xavi Hernández was dreaming yesterday. As if he were still one of the squad. Another sip of hope for a team in need of her.
Reference from elmundo