The draw for the Copa del Rey quarter finals has thrown up an interesting conundrum for Barcelona.
The Catalans have been paired with Sevilla for the two-legged tie, the Andalusians being one of, if not the toughest opponent they could’ve faced.
It will see a quick return to the Camp Nou for Munir El Haddadi, recently signed by Pablo Machin, and how he would love to put a spoke in the aspirations of his former side.Sevilla have plenty of players that will worry the Blaugrana, but the dilemma comes because the club have led everyone to believe that the cup is the least of their priorities this season.
Champions League, La Liga and the Copa del Rey… in that order as far as winning silverware is concerned.
So, on that basis, it’s time Barca came good on their promise and played their kids and fringe players in a game that might well see them giving up their crown, but giving the youngsters valuable experience in the process.
If we don’t see too much rotation from Ernesto Valverde, or none at all come to that, then this would suggest that Barcelona are going for it again, in a competition that they’ve dominated over the last few years.
Just two ties from another final is a huge carrot for the club, and the thought of dropping their tried and tested is more than likely an unpalatable one.
We only need to look as far back as the last round for a precedent.
Valverde left a number of big names out of the first leg against Levante, and though the Catalans weren’t terrible, they were defeated.
No shame in that of course, however, if the club really didn’t care about the trophy this season, then they wouldn’t have brought the likes of Lionel Messi back for the return leg, another tough 90 minutes which they came through to see them in the hat for the next round.
We’ll park the furore around Chumi’s selection for now as that’s another question entirely.
In the meantime, the likes of Carles Alena, Moussa Wague, Chumi, Miranda and maybe even Riqui Puig should be given a run out, but do you really believe this Barca are that brave?
If the management of the club do decide to give them their wings so to speak, the elite professionals in situ may not take too kindly to essentially being asked to take a back seat, with the understanding that this may see their potential exit from the competition.
It seems Barca are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
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