Barcelona have left Dani Alves out of their Europa League squad after only being able to register three of their four new signings for the knockout stages of the tournament.
UEFA rules state that clubs can only register “a maximum of three new eligible players during the winter” for the final stages of European competition, as reported by The Athletic.
Barcelona brought in Alves, Ferran Torres, Adama Traore, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang during the winter and have confirmed all three can play in the Europa League.
Javi Miguel at Diario AS reports that Xavi had previously informed the Brazil international of his decision and the 38-year-old is said to have understood the situation “perfectly.”
Xavi wanted to prioritize his attacking options because he is “aware that the team needs balance and a goal if it wants to make a difference in Europe.” The coach also knows he has options at right-back with Sergino Dest and Oscar Mingueza available. The coach could also play with three central defenders and use Adama as a wing-back.
Barcelona play Serie A side Napoli for a place in the last 16 of Europe’s second-tier competition. The first leg takes place at the Camp Nou on Thursday, 17 February with the return in Italy set for one week later.
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Barcelona Announce Aubameyang
The Catalan giants managed to seal a late deal for Aubameyang on deadline day and officially announced the arrival of the striker two days later after he had been officially registered.
Aubameyang has joined the club on a free transfer after leaving Premier League side Arsenal by mutual consent. The 32-year-old has signed a contract that runs until June 2025 but it does include “an option to agree departure on 30 June 2023.”
Barcelona have also confirmed the Gabon international’s release clause is set at €100 million. The striker is now available for selection and could be included in the squad for Barcelona’s next game against Atletico Madrid on Sunday, February 6.
Aubameyang ‘Proud’ to Join Barcelona
Aubameyang has already given his first interview since moving to the Camp Nou and spoke of his pride at signing for Barcelona and also how he’s looking forward to working with Xavi.
“I’m very proud especially because my family is Spanish as well, from my mother’s side. I’m just really proud and happy to be here. My main goal is to help the team and give everything I can to bring the team back in the Champions League. I’m just happy to be here and I will try to give everything,” he said. “It’s amazing to have him [Xavi] as a coach. He has been a fantastic player that everyone knows and I’m sure as a coach he will bring us something that we will learn definitely. Everyone is welcoming me very well so I’m feeling very good and, like I said, really happy.”
The Gabon international has not played since December after falling out with Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta after a disciplinary breach. He did head to AFCON 2021 with the Gabon squad but missed his team’s first two games after contracting Covid-19 and then returned home after being diagnosed with cardiac lesions.
The striker subsequently confirmed on social media he had been given the all clear after “additional checks” and he has already started training with his new Barcelona team-mates after making the move to the Camp Nou.