Xavi Sends Clear Message to Barcelona’s Memphis Depay

Memphis Depay

Getty Memphis Depay in action for Barcelona against Valencia.

Barcelona coach Xavi has sent a clear message to Dutch forward Memphis Depay ahead of his team’s Spanish Super Cup semi-final clash against Real Madrid in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, January 12.

Xavi was asked what Depay’s role at the club currently is, following the return to fitness of forwards Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele and with Ferran Torres having signed from Manchester City.

The Barcelona boss told reporters that Depay, like all of his players, was not guaranteed a spot in his starting XI and must work hard to prove he deserves to play, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.

“[His role is] the same as everyone. Those who earn merit will play here, there is a lot of competition. This is Barça. Luckily we have began to recover players and there is competition for everyone. It is all about meritocracy and whoever wins it will play. Whoever is best will play regardless of the name.”

Competition for places in the Barcelona attack is fierce now players have returned from injury and Covid. Xavi also has Luuk de Jong, who has scored in his last two games, available as well as youngsters Ferran Jutgla and Ez Abde.

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Xavi Offers Ansu & Ferran Update

Xavi’s teamsheet for the game against Real Madrid should make for interesting reading with the Barcelona boss able to welcome a host of players back after injury and Covid-19.

Fans will be especially keen to see Fati back in action after a hamstring injury as well as new signing Torres. The Barcelona boss was asked if both players would start the game but was a little coy with his response.

“We will see tomorrow, We’ll see how they get on during training, ” he said. “They will be important. They will surely have minutes, we will see how far they can go. It is not just tomorrow, there are five months of competition left and we do not want to lose more players. We have to be smart.”

Fati has not featured since Barcelona’s 3-3 draw against Osasuna in November 2021, while Torres has been out with a foot injury sustained on international duty back in October.

Real Madrid Win ‘Would Be Turning Point’

Barcelona head into Wednesday’s match as very much the underdogs against Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid who currently top La Liga and are already 17 points ahead of Barca.

Yet Xavi is confident his team can compete and feels a victory over Los Blancos would be a turning point in the Catalan giants’ season and would also provide his players with a huge confidence boost.

“It [a win] could be a turning point, for us it is very important,” he said. “First it gets you into the final and then the confidence it gives to the project is tremendous. Tomorrow we have to focus on what is a competition and in two games you can win a title. It would be an important turning point. It is a very important game for us.”

The winners of the match between the two La Liga giants will face either Atletico Madrid or Athletic Club in the final. The two teams play their semi-final a day later on Thursday, January 13.

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