The Supercopa de España is knocking on the door and Culés would be eagerly waiting to see their team in action against Sevilla. After a series of mundane friendlies, it's time to win the first silverware of the season. It has been a fruitful transfer window for Barcelona as they have already scooped in 4 new players for the season.
Fans all over the world are would love to see what those players bring to the table. Yet, there is a very realistic chance that one of their new summer signings might be missing the first match of the season.
What's the LFP rule?
As per Liga de Futbol Profesional (LFP), teams playing in La Liga and Liga Adelante (Second division of Spanish football) are not allowed to have more than three non-EU players in the squad for any game. To be eligible for Spanish citizenship, a non-EU player must play for five years in Spain. A non-EU player can also apply for a Europian citizenship three years post marriage if his wife belongs to a European country.
Why are Barcelona affected by this?
As per the rules, Barcelona can only register 3 non-European players for a given match and as of now, they have 6! Yes, the double of the allowed number. Nonetheless, this was not a concern a few days back as Marlon Santos and Yerry Mina weren't in the manager's plans for the season and the Brazilian trio of Coutinho, Malcom and Arthur were the expected non-EU players in the squad.
However, things took a turn with the signing of Arturo Vidal of Chile. Though Coutinho has applied for Portuguese citizenship, the formalities are not yet complete. In 2014, the same process was followed by Luis Suarez whose wife is Italian.
Who might miss out?
It is very unlikely that Coutinho will be the one to get the axe as he has been at the club for a longer duration and is already a prime member of the team. So what is it that we would be missing? Would it be Malcom's flair, Arthur's control or Vidal's Aggression? Ernesto Valverde has a decision to make and it might just turn out to be Arturo Vidal.
That's understandable as Vidal has recently joined the squad and lacks match practice due to his knee injury whereas both Malcom and Arthur are coming after enjoying a successful pre-season campaign.
Whatever may be the case, the fans would be hoping for this conundrum to be settled before they start their La Liga campaign on 19th of August.