– Barcelona are preparing to face Napoli in their second leg round of 16 UCL tie
– But report claims that only 14 first team players are available for the Catalan giants ahead of the game
– Arthur is also at risk of missing out on the game on August 8 as he refuses to jet back to Spain from Brazil
– The tie is delicately poised at 1-1 from the first leg
Barcelona manager Quique Setien is facing a real conundrum as only 14 of his first team players are available for the Champions League match against Napoli slated for Saturday, August 8.
The Catalan giants are looking at the Champions League as their only hope or silverware this season after surrendering the La Liga title to rivals Real Madrid.
Even, then, they face an uphill task of overcoming a resurgent Napoli after a deadlocked first leg tie which ended in a 1-1 stalemate.
With the return leg just a week away, the Catalan giants will have to make do with the prospect of calling up their much younger talents due to the unavailability of several first team players.
For one, midfielder Sergio Busquets will miss the tie through suspension.
The likes of Samuel Umtiti and Ronald Araujo remain sidelined with injury, while forward Ousmanne Dembele remains a major doubt as he is yet to regain full fitness.
Available players for the game as it stands are as follows: Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet, Jordi Alba, Junior Firpo and Nelson Semedo in defence; Frenkie de Jong, Sergi Roberto and Ivan Rakitic in midfield while the forward attacking line-up features Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Antoinne Griezzman.
Midfielder Arthur Melo is fully fit but is likely to be unavailable as he is currently in his native Brazil and has declined to resume training as he tries to force a move to Juventus.
Arthur’s unwillingness to play for the Catalan giants could potentially mean their 14 fit first team players could actually be 13.
This will serve as another blow to talisman Lionel Messi, who has been critical of his side in recent weeks.
Moments after conceding the La Liga title, Messi openly faulted his team mates for being a “low intensity, erratic” side.
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that Lionel Messi’s recent lashing at his Barcelona teammates has reportedly had a negative effect on the team ahead of their Champions League fixture with Napoli.
The Argentine was not happy with Barca’s defeat to Osasuna resulting in Real Madrid winning La Liga on matchday 37.
According to Spanish news media outlet Diario GOL, three midfielders have fallen out with Messi and are ready to leave the club at the end of their Champions League campaign.
The three players are Rakitic, Vidal, Arthur as they are reportedly not happy with the Barcelona captain.
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