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Barcelona celebrate crucial win but there’s bigger news – Pedri is back

Barcelona fans are continuing to dream of a Lionel Messi return and, in Sunday’s home match with Atletico Madrid, supporters were once again chanting his name in the 10th minute.

But right now, the sun that really brightens Barcelona’s game goes by a different name: Pedri.

The 20-year-old has been so missed at Camp Nou that his return from injury produced the biggest standing ovation in the crucial 1-0 win against Atletico when he entered from the bench in the second half.


“Pedri gives us a lot of tranquillity. He makes every ball that goes through his feet better. I’m just calmer when he has the ball, it’s that simple,” summed up his manager Xavi after the game.

Pedri hadn’t played since February after he picked up a hamstring injury in the Europa League tie against Manchester United. He has been so sorely missed that Xavi, and the player himself, tried to rush his return for the La Liga Clasico against Real Madrid last month, resulting in a setback in his recovery.

Those who are close to the player were, back then, fuming with Barca’s backroom staff for allowing such a risk to be taken. To be fair, concerns over his physical condition go back a little further.

Pedri and Barcelona team-mates celebrate Sunday’s 1-0 La Liga win (Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP via Getty Images)

Pedri hit the ground running during his first season at the club and did not really stop. By the end of the 2020-2021 campaign, he had appeared in 52 games, missing not one match through injury.

During the off-season, he took part in the European Championship, where he was named the tournament’s best young player, before flying off to Tokyo to feature in the Olympic Games.

Spain reached the semi-finals at the Euros and the final at the Olympics, with Pedri playing more than 90 minutes on five occasions as matches went to extra time. It’s fair to say it did not look like the most sensible way to take care of an 18-year-old’s body. A year later, he got confirmation that it wasn’t.

After a debut season free of injuries, Pedri has missed 44 Barcelona games due to physical issues over the two campaigns since. And now, when he is injured, they really miss him.

“Without Pedri, our whole idea falls apart,” a source from Barca’s backroom staff told The Athletic some weeks ago.

The stats reflect it quite well. Pedri has played in 22 league matches this season, with Barcelona winning 19, drawing two and losing one. Of the eight league matches he has not been on the pitch, Barca have won five, drawn two and lost one. That’s a win-rate percentage of 86% with him in the side, dropping to 63% in his absence.


Without Pedri on the pitch, Xavi’s side have made an average of seven fewer passes into the final third per game. They’ve registered one fewer shot per match and, most importantly, have conceded on average three more shots on goal.

It’s quite significant as well to see how, without Pedri, Barcelona cross into the box a lot more often. Their average of 12.3 open-play crosses per game with him jumps to an average of 18.3 when he’s not on the pitch. Basically, that’s a case of Barca losing a part of their essence; their positional play and movement through the inside pockets.

Barca with and without Pedri in La Liga

With Pedri


Without Pedri















Goals for



Average goals for

1. 3


Goals against



Average goals against



Win percentage



Points per game



Shots per game



Shots conceded per game



Open-play crosses per game



Passes into final third per game


It is an issue that is well-recognised within the club. In fact, it’s something they realised last season and it’s why Xavi was pushing to try to sign Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva in the summer, with the Portugal midfielder meant to provide Pedri with support.

Now, despite their financial struggles and the fact targets such as Bernardo are practically off the table with Barcelona only being able to afford free transfers, there’s a new plan to give Pedri a break, one that revolves around another Manchester City player: Ilkay Gundogan.

Nearing the end of his contract, the 32-year-old has received a special request from Xavi to fill the role he had planned for Bernardo a year ago.

Messi is also extremely wanted by the backroom staff, for the same reason. There’s a lack of quality in the final third and an extreme overreliance on Pedri — arrivals such as these would be able to solve this issue.


Lionel Messi back to Barcelona: Political, complicated but very real

While we wait to see how all that unfolds, at least on Sunday Barcelona finally managed to find the net having gone three matches without scoring in all competitions.

It was Ferran Torres who got the goal, finishing a counter-attack on the brink of half-time. Raphinha deserves credit for his tremendous work rate and assist, as does Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Barca’s victory was sealed in no small part thanks to another impressive display from their goalkeeper, who made three crucial interventions to deny key Atletico chances.


Barcelona were stronger than Atletico in both boxes. That’s how they won the game and that’s why they will win La Liga.

But at a club where the way things are done is so scrutinised, there is no place for a plan that does not guarantee a platform for Pedri, their generational talent, to flourish.

(Top photo: Marc Graupera Aloma/Europa Press via Getty Images)

Barcelona News, Scores, & Standings

Two crosses in win Alonso had two crosses (zero accurate) and one corner in Sunday’s 1-0 win versus Atletico Madrid. In addition, he was given a yellow card in the 28th minute.

Impact Alonso has failed to keep a consistent starting role since leaving Chelsea last summer. In 24 appearances in all competitions, the defender has only started in 14 of them while totaling three goals and 25 crosses (11 accurate). He did, however, recently extend his contact with the club for another year, where he will continue to be a depth option in the back.


Quiet in return de Jong registered one shot (zero on target), one cross (zero accurate) and one chance created in Sunday’s 1-0 win against Atletico Madrid.

Impact De Jong returned to the starting XI after missing the last three matches with a hamstring injury. He had a quiet day, but he is still working getting his fitness back. Prior to his injury, the midfielder has started the last 11 games, generating 16 crosses (three accurate), 13 tackles (nine won) and 12 interceptions in that span.


Set for suspension Busquets registered one tackle (zero won), two clearances and two interceptions in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid. In addition, he was given a yellow card in the 57th minute…

Impact Busquets was given his fifth yellow card of the season and will serve a one-match suspension on Wednesday. In the last eight games, the midfielder has totaled two assists with 19 tackles (11 won) and 13 clearances. Franck Kessie could be an option to start against Rayo Vallecano in his absence.


Registers assist Raphinha assisted once to go with four chances created in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid. In addition, he was given a yellow card in the 78th minute.

Impact Raphinha helped deliver Barcelona’s only goal Sunday to take the win. With seven goals and eight assists in all competitions, most of them came from the last 15 matches, totaling five goals and four assists, along with 87 crosses (15 accurate). This also ups his average crosses a contest t 4.8.


Net lone goal Torres scored one goal to go with two shots (two on target) and two tackles (one won) in Sunday’s 1-0 win against Atletico Madrid.

Impact Torres scored the game’s only goal to give the team the win Sunday. With injuries to Ousmane Dembele and Pedri, the winger has been given more opportunities to start, making seven starts in the last 10 matches while totaling two goals, one assist and 43 crosses (16 accurate) in that span.


Fourth clean sheet in a row Ter Stegen made three saves and secured a clean sheet in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid.

Impact Ter Stegen has been by far the league’s best goalkeeper, recording a leading 23 clean sheets. which also surpasses his career high for a season. What is more impressive is he has only conceded nine goals in La Liga, which is far low from his average in the past years of about 29 goals conceded a season. The keeper will head to Rayo Vallecano for the next game on Wednesday, who have scored seven goals in the last five contests. Ter Stegen had also completed a clean sheet against the opponent during the last outing on Aug 13.


Not ready for Sunday Pedri is not in the match day squad to face Atletico Madrid on Sunday.

Impact Pedri misses out on Sunday’s match as he continues to work his way back from a thigh injury. The midfielder returned to training in the buildup so he could be available as soon as Wednesday against Rayo Vallecano.


Out as expected Dembele is not in the match day squad to face Atletico Madrid on Sunday.

Impact Dembele misses out as expected as he just returned to training for the first time in two months following a quad injury. The winger will look to build up his fitness in time to feature against Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday.


Makes Starting XI de Jong is fit and in the starting XI for Sunday’s match against Atletico Madird.

Impact de Jong returns from a hamstring injury in time to start for Barcelona on Sunday. The midfielder has scored twice and provided an assist in his 24 appearances.


Remains sidelined vs. Atletico Christensen (calf) will still be unavailable to face Atletico Madrid on Sunday, Marca reports.

Impact Christensen is still working his way through a calf injury he suffered during the March international window, and he will miss a fourth consecutive game on Sunday with two of Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde, Eric Garcia and Marcos Alonso set to continue as the starting center-backs for the match.


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Charismatic Betis captain Joaquín Sánchez set to retire

Charismatic Real Betis captain Joaquín Sánchez has announced he will retire at the end of the season


Rivalry between Barcelona and Madrid takes turn for worse

The days of a healthy rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid are over


Extended absence confirmed Roberto is set to miss an indefinite amount of time after test reveal that he picked up a hamstring injury during Sunday’s 0-0 draw to Getafe,

Impact This is a huge loss for the team, who is facing several injuries from the midfield position. Because of Pedri’s (thigh) absence, Roberto had gotten the start the last nine matches, totaling two goals and one assist in that span. If Pedri and Frankie de Jong (hamstring) return Sunday, they will both mend the midfield along with Franck Kessie. However, further changes can also be made with Ansu Fati an option to come in to play the wing, with Gavi dropping back to take control of the midfield.


Training with ball De Jong (hamstring) was seen training on the grass with the ball ahead of Sunday’s clash with Atletico Madrid.

Impact De Jong could make a return to the team as soon as Sunday after missing the last three matches with a hamstring injury. If this is the case, he will likely start in the midfielder with Sergi Roberto (hamstring) out on injury. However, if the midfielder does not recover in time, then Gavi could move back to center midfield, with Ansu Fati likely to get the call to start at left wing.


Back in training Dembele (quadriceps) was pictured back in training for the first time in two months.

Impact It is promising news to see Dembele back on the training grounds after sitting out since Feb 1 with a quadriceps injury. He figures to participate in full training with the team first before being an option for the squad again, leaving him in big doubt for Sunday’s match. However, he is likely to return for April 29’s clash with Real Betis after he builds up match fitness.


Pictured in training Pedri (thigh) was seen in training Monday ahead of Sunday’s clash with Atletico Madrid.

Impact Pedri is seen back in training for the first time in about a month, which means that his return could be as soon as Sunday. He will likely start off the bench at minimum until he returns to full match fitness, where he can compete with Sergio Busquets and Franch Kessie again for a permanent starting role in the midfield.


Barcelona says probe found no evidence of corruption by club

Barcelona says the investigation it ordered into controversial payments for refereeing reports has found no evidence of corruption by the club


Attempts insufficient vs. Getafe Raphinha generated five shots (one on goal), four crosses (two accurate) and three corners in Sunday’s 0-0 draw versus Getafe.

Impact After sitting out Barcelona’s first game of April 2023, Raphinha was the Catalans’ right winger across their next two games. He attempted 15 crosses, 11 corner kicks and eight shots during the two-matchup span. Unfortunately for Raphinha, he was unable to prevent both games from ending in 0-0 draws.


Fives galore vs. Getafe Kounde generated five crosses (zero accurate) and five clearances in Sunday’s 0-0 draw versus Getafe.

Impact Surprisingly, Kounde had Barcelona’s best cross tally despite not diverting significantly from his usual center-back position. Less surprisingly, he also had the Catalans’ most clearances as they maintained another clean sheet. Both achievements will be welcome for Barcelona’s biggest April game, against Atletico Madrid next Sunday.


Benefits from Roberto injury Garcia recorded one tackle (one won) and one clearance in Sunday’s 0-0 draw against Getafe.

Impact Sergi Roberto suffered a leg injury during the game’s 18th minute. Garcia played 72 minutes in place of Roberto and is expected to play a lot more regularly if both the older Spaniard and Andreas Christensen (undisclosed) must continue sitting out for recovery purposes.


Maintains clean sheet Ter Stegen made one save and allowed zero goals in Sunday’s 0-0 draw against Getafe.

Impact To maintain a clean sheet, all ter Stegen needed to do was save a Borja Mayoral shot. The goalkeeper’s April continues to be perfect, with three clean sheets across that many appearances so far this month. However, there is a good chance ter Stegen’s streak will not be maintained for much longer, considering Barcelona hosts top-three side Atletico Madrid next Sunday.


Barcelona’s winless streak extended after draw with Getafe

Barcelona’s winless run has continued with a 0-0 draw at Getafe in the Spanish league


Barcelona vs. Getafe: Free live stream, how to watch La Liga Barca is trying to keep its sizable lead in La Liga.


History of Barcelona’s matches with clubs from Russia — Realnoe Vremya


21:30, 11/29/2020

November 29 marks the 121st anniversary of one of the most famous and titled clubs in the history of football – the Spanish “Barcelona”. The club was founded back in 1899 by a group of Swiss, British, Spanish and Catalan footballers led by Joan Gamper, who was its first president. Gamper is also one of the initiators of the creation of the Swiss clubs Zurich and Basel. Realnoe Vremya recalls Barcelona’s most notable games against Russian clubs.

Last match: Spartak failed

The last time the Spanish grand played against the Russian club was eight years ago, on November 20, 2012. Then, as part of the fifth round of the main Champions League tournament, Barcelona was hosted by Spartak Moscow in its field. The Spanish team won 3-0, goals were scored by Dani Alves and Messi (the latter scored a double). The teams were in Group G, along with Celtic and Benfica. Spartak was eventually eliminated, taking fourth place (for the entire group stage, the Russian team only beat Benfica once, and lost to Barcelona on the road with a score of 3:2). Barcelona reached the semi-finals, losing to Bayern there: in the second match, they won with an impressive score of 3: 0, but this was not enough to overcome the future champions – in the first match, Barcelona lost with a score of 0: 4.


Last draw: Rubin in Kazan

The last draw that the Russian team achieved in matches with Barcelona was recorded in September 2010 in Kazan. The match was held in group D of the Champions League group stage of the 2010/2011 season. This was the second match of the teams, in the first matches Rubin lost away to Copenhagen with a score of 0:1, and Barcelona beat Panathinaikos at home with a score of 5:1. In Kazan, Rubin and Barcelona played a 1-1 draw, goals were scored by Christian Noboa and David Villa. In the second leg in Spain, Barcelona won 2-0. In the group stage, Rubin drew twice more with Panathinaikos and beat Copenhagen 1-0. Rubin eventually took third place in the group, flew to the Europa League, immediately flew out of there, not having time to get past Twente from the Netherlands. Barcelona left the group from the first place, and then became the winner of the Champions League, passing Arsenal, Shakhtar, Real Madrid and beating Manchester United.

Last victory: “Rubin” in Barcelona

The last victory of the Russian club over “Barcelona” was a success for the same Kazan “Rubin” a year before – in the 2009/2010 Champions League season. On October 20, 2009, Rubin beat Barcelona 2-1 in Spain. Already in the second minute Alexander Ryazantsev opened the score, in the 48th minute Zlatan Ibrahimovic equalized it, and in the 73rd minute Gekdeniz Karadeniz again brought the Kazan team forward. Rubin had previously lost away to Dynamo Kyiv and played in Kazan in a draw with Inter Milan. It is interesting that “Rubin” was able not to lose face in the second leg with “Barcelona”, playing 0:0. After that, the score was repeated in a match in Kazan with Dynamo Kiev, and then Rubin lost away to Inter with a score of 0:2, leaving the Champions League, but moving to the Europa League. There he went through Hapoel, but lost in the confrontation with Wolfsburg. Barcelona left the group from the first place, passed the Italian Fiorentina to the 1/8 finals, the London Arsenal to the 1/4 finals, but in the semi-finals they “stumbled” over the rival in the group – Inter Milan, which beat Bayern in the final. It is curious that at the group stage, Barcelona first played with Inter in a draw, and then beat it with a score of 2: 0, but in the playoffs, they first lost 1: 3, and then won, but only with a score 1:0.

The biggest defeat of the Russian club: Spartak relaxed

In general, there were not so many meetings between Russian clubs and Barcelona. One of the biggest defeats in the last 30 years, Barcelona inflicted on the already mentioned Spartak back in 1994. Then the Spanish team beat the Moscow club with a score of 5:1. It happened on March 16, and two weeks before that, in Moscow, the teams tied with a score of 2:2. In that match, Karpin from Spartak opened the score, but after that only Barcelona scored: at the end of the first period, Stoichkov equalized the score, and at the end of the match, from the 75th to the 86th minute, Spartak was blown away and got four more balls – one each from Amor and Romario, two more – from Koeman. According to the results of the group stage of the Champions League, Spartak was in third place, Barcelona was in first, in the semi-finals the team beat Porto, and in the final lost to Milan.

Significant victory: Barcelona relaxed

As for major victories over Barcelona, ​​there were by and large no such victories in the history of Russian football. In addition to the aforementioned victory of Rubin in 2009, one can recall a very long-standing match in 1992, when Barcelona beat CSKA, drawing 1:1 with it in the first match. The second match, held in Spain, turned out to be a 3-2 victory for CSKA, with Barcelona leading 2-0 at first. However, such a victory cannot be considered a major one, but something else is important – there were matches in the 1/8 finals, and the rules then were such that CSKA went through to the group stage, and Barcelona flew out. In the group stage, however, CSKA didn’t do much: in the group with the Marseille Olympic, Rangers from Glasgow and Brugge from the Belgian city of the same name, the team managed to draw only twice, and lost the rest of the matches – in connection with which it turned out to be last. The winner of the Champions League (by the way, this was the first UEFA tournament under this name) was Olimpik.

Maxim Matveev

SportFootball Tatarstan

Barcelona won without 15 players from the main team. Omicron rages in Spain, but matches cannot be tolerated

  • RPL
  • Russia
  • Europe
  • Prefabricated

Stanislav Rynkevich

January 3, 2022 21:03

Photo: © REUTERS/Nacho Doce

About 200 footballers tested positive last week alone.

Nearly 200 footballers tested positive last week alone.

Barcelona’s game against Mallorca in the 19th round of the championship of Spain was more like a meeting from the early stage of the King’s Cup. There are already a lot of reservists and backups in both teams.

According to the Spanish press, last week about 200 football players from the two top divisions of the Spanish Championship, La Liga and Segunda, passed positive tests for coronavirus.

There were eight of them in Barcelona before the match with Mallorca: Ousmane Dembele, Sergino Dest, Philippe Coutinho, Abde Ezzalzouli, Jordi Alba, Dani Alves, Alex Balde and Gavi. Add to them injured Memphis Depay, Ansu Fati, Pedri, Sergi Roberto and Martin Braithwaite, as well as Sergi Busquets, who went through yellow cards.

Xavi / Photo: © REUTERS / Nacho Doce

– The team is in an extreme situation – we cannot count on 17-18 players. There is no point in playing. The situation is reminiscent of chaos, but we will still try to take three points, because they are very important,” Barcelona head coach Xavi was indignant at the pre-match press conference.

Unlike the English Premier League, Spain is trying to avoid postponing matches due to coronavirus cases. According to the existing rules, a team is obliged to play if it can recruit at least 13 players in total from the first or youth squad (7 players registered in the main team must be on the field).

The clause about 7 players from the main team is an important nuance. In the course of the match with Mallorca, Xavi was forced to change the players of the double only for the players of the double, and the author of the only goal scored, Luc de Jong, lost in the second half, played to the end due to the lack of alternatives.

The counterpart of the Catalan specialist from Mallorca was dissatisfied with Xavi’s complaints about the match.

– No one in La Liga has had as many losses [due to the coronavirus] as we do. But they started talking about the problem only now, when it came to Barcelona. Apparently, they are the only team that has problems. In fact, their substitute players can go out in the starting line-up of any other team,” said Balearic coach Luis Garcia ironically.

The players who are not known by all the club’s fans by name, not to mention the face, were included in Barcelona’s application for the game: Arnau Comas, Guillem Jaime, Alvaro Sanz, Lucas De Vega, Estanis Pedrola and Mika Marmol. The average age of the main team was 24 years and 201 days – this is a hit in the top 3 for youth over the past 17 years.

Barcelona won a forced victory in the style of the previous coach Ronald Koeman – a goal from a cross and crazy saves by Marc-Andre ter Stegen. But the problems with the coronavirus do not end with this game.

The explosive mixture of “omicron + family gatherings at Christmas” led to a sharp jump in cases in Spain. On Tuesday alone, about 100,000 new cases were registered.

As of January 1, the Spanish government has limited stadium capacity to 75%, leaving it up to local authorities to go even further. This is what they did in the Basque Country – Athletic, Real Sociedad and Alaves can only fill the stadium halfway.

Rules apply to all domestic tournaments. The Alcoyano club from the third division sold all the tickets for the match against Real Madrid in the King’s Cup and now has to figure out how to deal with the audience.

On Thursday, one of the Spanish sports newspapers published a list of cases of coronavirus in each of the La Liga teams. Rayo Vallecano was in the lead with 14 cases (now 17), followed by Real Sociedad (10) and Celta Vigo (9).

But, of course, everyone is more interested in grandees. Real Madrid missed four last week – Thibault Courtois, Vinicius Junior, Fede Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga. And before Christmas, Ancelotti’s team already had one outbreak of coronavirus. Atlético have tested positive four players (Koke, Antoine Griezmann, Hector Herrera, João Felix) plus head coach Diego Simeone.

Someone like Xavi talks about injustice. Someone thinks that those clubs that take the best care of the safety of their players get the advantage, so everything is fair (this thesis is broken by the situation in Sociedad, where even the players who were in the “bubble” fell ill).

But no matter how much luck plays a role in this matter, no team is immune from the epidemic. Having a big bench or a well-prepared youth became especially important. And if you believe the forecasts of experts, it will be important not only this season. Big football always adapts to reality.

Perhaps the phrase “Team A lost 15 players due to the coronavirus” will soon cease to surprise anyone at all.

See also:

  • Zenit and Spartak in the playoffs of the Champions League, the final of the Champions League in St. Petersburg, the winter world championship. What football will give us in 2022
  • An award for Lewandowski, blue garnet glasses for Messi and the cancellation of the African Cup. What European top clubs asked Santa Claus
  • Barcelona will spend 55 million euros on the transfer.