Barcelona travel to Alaves on Tuesday night hoping to edge ever closer to defending their La Liga crown with a victory.
The Catalan giants sit nine points clear of nearest rivals Atletico Madrid with five games remaining, and so coach Ernesto Valverde knows that they’re almost across the line.
However, they also have a Copa del Rey final and a Champions League semi-final tie with Liverpool to consider too, and so the Spanish tactician is expected to rotate to an extent.
It remains to be seen who’s rested against Alaves in terms of the starting line-up, but as far as the squad is concerned, it appears as though Ivan Rakitic is the only main absence with Mundo Deportivo noting that he has been rested for this trip.
As noted in the tweets below, it sparked a mixed response from the Barcelona fans, with some pleased that the Croatian stalwart is handed a rest given his importance to the side, while others were happy that he was finally left out having been an immovable figure in Valverde’s plans.
Rakitic has already made 48 appearances so far this season, scoring five goals and providing nine assists.
Time will tell if changes are made, but with the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho and Sergio Busquets all included in the squad, there’s no doubt that Barcelona have plenty of quality still available to pick from.
Following on from their encounter with Alaves in midweek, they face Levante on Saturday night before hosting Liverpool at the Nou Camp in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final tie next Wednesday.
With that in mind, Valverde has to get his rotation spot on to avoid any slip-ups in La Liga, while keeping his key figures fresh for their European commitments.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 22, 2019
No Rakitic pic.twitter.com/OJMbcfC0b4
— • ?? (@crishtun) April 22, 2019
Hope @ivanrakitic is rested and not injured.
— Abhishek (@AbhishekKirsten) April 22, 2019
Please tell me Rakitic had a fallout with Valverde .
— Nafay ?? (@VintageDembele) April 22, 2019
No Rakitic pic.twitter.com/Hheet8q4PV
— Nikhau???? (@Nikhau_Uraraka) April 22, 2019
Happy you finally let rakitic rest
— NUE?? (@Cherry_EX0) April 22, 2019
No Rakitic :’)
— J (@MESQUE_BARCA) April 22, 2019
rakitic’s rested, don’t worry folks.
— Ashok Singh (@ashokrajput2305) April 22, 2019