Barcelona have confirmed their starting XI to take on Athletic Bilbao at the San Mames this evening, with manager Ernesto Valverde opting to go with a somewhat altered line-up.
All of Griezmann, Suarez and Dembele have been selected to lead Barca’s attack, a decision which comes after Messi was left out of the club’s squad for the clash due to injury as per the Mirror.
Valverde has also opted for a strong defence, with all of Pique, Semedo, Lenglet and Alba chosen to protect Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the Blaugrana goal tonight.
Philippe Coutinho has been left out of the club’s squad altogether, a decision which comes amid a report from Yahoo Esportes which states the Brazilian is closing in on a loan move to Bayern Munich.
Both Carles Alena and Sergi Roberto have been elected to start in midfield alongside summer signing Frenkie De Jong, with Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic being left on the bench, as per the club’s official site.
And it’s this decision to leave the Croatian on the bench for tonight’s clash which has a lot of Barca fans jumping for joy.
Rakitic has been a valuable member of Barca’s squad these past few years, however given that he’s now 31, it’s wise for the club to start bleeding through younger players, which in turn, will see the Croat benched for some games.
Following this decision, it seems like some fans can’t help but express their delight at the sight of Rakitic on the bench!
RAKITIC BENCH? pic.twitter.com/7c92Xm7pnE
— Balak?? ? (@K1ngMessi) August 16, 2019
IVAN RAKITIC NOT STARTING AM I ACTUALLY DREAMING OMG ?????????
— ABDULRHMAN (@96ABQ) August 16, 2019
no rakitic holy shit
— . ? (@Vexialz) August 16, 2019
Not Ivan Rakitic pic.twitter.com/xow3CSHZTq
— ?? (@jetesuggere) August 16, 2019
He did it; it literally took an FDJ and two CL bottlings to put Rakitic on the bench, but it's finally done.
— Hoosain Ebrahim (@HoosainEbrahim3) August 16, 2019
— Zed (@zed_fcb) August 16, 2019
Thank God no Rakitic
— Rainberry ? (@josie__g) August 16, 2019
Rakitic and Busquets both benched.. I could not be happier with this lineup ??
— Ariel Villanueva (@ArielVi92234186) August 16, 2019