Barcelona have announced their UEFA Champions League squad ahead of this season’s group stages and there are no surprises in new manager Ronald Koeman’s selection. The Dutchman has included all of his 24 first-team players, while also opting for 5 youth players.
The only notable absentee is youngster Santiago Ramos Mingo, who has been training with the senior squad and was even named in the squad for the games against Celta Vigo and Sevilla in the La Liga. The B team youngsters included in the squad are Arnau Tenas, Inaki Pena, Oscar Mingueza, Konrad de la Fuente, and Ilaix Moriba.
Koeman took charge at the Camp Nou two days after Barcelona parted ways with Quique Setien in August after a humiliating 8-2 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich in the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League quarterfinals. A less than impressive summer transfer window followed. First-team stars Luis Suarez, Arturo Vidal, Nelson Semedo, Ivan Rakitic, Arthur and Rafinha were among the players who left the club. A prolonged courting of Memphis Depay ultimately proved futile, and Miralem Pjanic and Sergino Dest remained the only notable arrivals.
However, much to the relief of Barcelona fans, their performance in the transfer window has not affected their efficiency on the football pitch so far.
Barcelona are alongside Juventus in Group G in the Champions League this season
The Catalans kicked off their new season with a 4-0 win at the Camp Nou against Villareal. They followed that up with a 3-0 victory away to Celta Vigo, despite being reduced to 10 men 3 minutes before the break when Clement Lenglet received his second yellow of the game.
Their last game in the La Liga before the international break ended in a 1-1 draw at home against Sevilla. Barcelona sit on 5th in the La Liga table at the moment, having played one game less than Real Madrid at the top and 2 games less than the four teams in between.
Koeman will be desperate to carry forward the same form into the UEFA Champions League, where the Blaugrana are in Group G alongside Juventus, Dynamo Kyiv and Ferencvaros. Barcelona start their 2020/21 UEFA Champions League campaign with a home game against Ferencvaros on the 20th of this month, before the lip-smacking prospect of a long awaited Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo encounter takes place on the 28th of October.
The Dutchman’s ideology has already begun to take shape at the Camp Nou. Koeman has selected the same midfield and attack in the first three games and perhaps would have maintained the same team in all three games had Lenglet’s red card not tied his hands.
As such, Barcelona fans can start to be a little more optimistic about not just the league, but the UEFA Champions League too. The premier European club trophy has eluded the Blaugrana for quite some time, so will this be their season? Koeman will certainly be hoping so.
Barcelona Champions League Squad
Goalkeepers: Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Neto, Pena, Tenas.
Defenders: Gerard Pique, Lenglet, Ronald Araujo, Jordi Alba, Dest, Samuel Umtiti, Junior Firpo, Mingueza.
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Frenkie De Jong, Pjanic, Carles Alena, Riqui Puig, Sergi Roberto, Mattheus Fernandes, Ilaix.Published 10 Oct 2020, 21:19 IST