Barcelona face Vissel Kobe in their latest pre-season friendly on Saturday, and it’s fair to say that many of their fans are taking the outing very seriously.
The Catalan giants will be looking to ensure that they’re in the best possible shape ahead of their La Liga opener against Athletic Bilbao on August 16, and they will continue that process in their last game on their pre-season tour this weekend.
The clash pits them against some familiar faces in Andres Iniesta and David Villa, but for coach Ernesto Valverde, the focus will be on giving his players a crucial run-out and building their fitness while avoiding any injury setbacks along the way.
Unfortunately for the Spanish tactician, not everyone is in agreement with his selections, and as seen in the tweets below, many Barcelona fans were left particularly frustrated with his decision to leave out summer signing Frenkie de Jong and continue to start stalwart Ivan Rakitic.
It would come as no surprise if we saw De Jong at some stage so he can continue to get minutes under his belt and get settled with his new teammates, but ultimately that might not be enough for some of these supporters who were left rather annoyed by Valverde’s decision making.
Time will tell if he gets it right and the reigning La Liga champions come away with a morale boosting win, but it would appear that he runs the risk of incurring the Barcelona faithful’s wrath if he continues to persist with starting Rakitic, especially if it’s at the expense of De Jong.
Given the 31-year-old Croatian international made 54 appearances last season, it’s fair to say that he probably has a key role to play for Valverde in the upcoming campaign too
The frustration is understandable to an extent as De Jong should be playing in the likely starting XI for the new season to build chemistry with his teammates, but at this early stage it’s questionable as to whether or not it really matters.
— #Messi? (@LeoKawsar10) July 27, 2019
Rakitic continue to holding his spot, No words
— Mike (@o_Firmino) July 27, 2019
Rakitic, what a surprise
— Frans (@fransl_8) July 27, 2019
— Doggy (@cristian_quenta) July 27, 2019
De Jong ???? Valverde out pic.twitter.com/M5NWVMFch9
— ? (@jetesuggere) July 27, 2019
De Jong should be played with this squad wtf valverde
— bk. (@NotBobbey) July 27, 2019
— Aryan ? (@AryanGOAT10) July 27, 2019
— Xhenfri ???? (@xhenfri) July 27, 2019
DE JONG??? I guess valverde didnt notice the 42 passes made and 42 passes completed……
— Rapha ? ?? (@RaphaelFPS28) July 27, 2019
Frenkie-Busi-Riqui but we have Valverde so we have to keep watching Raktic. It's not even Raktic's fault the guy just does what the coach wants. The only to blame is Valverde. #Valveredeout
— Biooo (@Biooo87241762) July 27, 2019