Xavi Tells 4 Barcelona Players To Stay Away From Pre-Season: Report

Xavi Hernandez

Getty Xavi Hernandez is preparing for pre-season.

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez has told unwanted players Oscar Mingueza, Riqui Puig and Samuel Umtiti there is no need to turn up for the start of pre-season which is due to begin on Monday, July 4.

The majority of the first-team squad are due to arrive for medical checks before commencing training ahead of the start of the 2022-23 campaign. However, Barcelona will be without a host of internationals who have been given an extra week off due to their exploits in the Nations League in June.

Mingueza, Puig, and Umtiti may also be missing after being told by the Barcelona boss that their presence is not required but they can instead have an extra week to try and find new clubs, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.

Xavi had already told all three players to look for exits this summer as he would not be able to offer them first-team minutes in 2022-23. The trio are not expected to cause problems and know that their time at the club is up.

Denmark international Martin Braithwaite will also be handed the same message but is not due back at the club until July 11. The striker is not in Xavi’s plans but has already made it clear he is not thinking about leaving.

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Riqui Puig Heading to Lazio?

Midfielder Riqui Puig appears to have emerged as a transfer target for Serie A side Lazio, as reported by Diario Sport. La Liga rivals Valencia “have already asked” about Puig but may struggle to pull of a deal due to financial reasons.

Valencia’s new coach Gennaro Gattuso has already made it clear just how much he admires Puig. Gattuso spoke about the youngster back in 2018 and was full of praise for the midfielder, as reported by ESPN.

“Riqui is spectacular. Even though they [Barca] have players that look like kids, the way they handle the ball amazes me. It’s the beauty of football. It’s like poetry,” he said.  “I heard about him a while ago, and about some of the other kids at the club. It’s the kind of thing you can’t really copy and paste. It’s something that takes years to do. It’s how they feel the game. So it’s a beautiful thing, but a very tough thing for others to copy. They don’t play with a tactical model, it’s more of a common idea. Needless to say, I am very jealous of the Barca school.”

However, Lazio currently look a more realistic destination, particularly as the Italian club are looking for an attacking midfielder. Yet any deal will be dependent on Puig being willing to move to a new league and a new country.

Ansu Fati Already Working Hard

One player who is already back working hard ahead of the new season is teenage striker Ansu Fati. The attacker endured another injury-interrupted campaign in 2021-22, making just 12 appearances in all competitions.

There have been concerns that Fati’s physical condition is still an issue because the youngster opted for conservative treatment rather than surgery on his most recent hamstring injury.

However, Fati certainly looks in impressive shape ahead of the start of pre-season.

Barcelona will be praying that Fati can finally put his injury problems behind him and feature regularly in the new campaign. There is no doubting the teenager’s talent, but question marks remain over his long-term fitness.

READ NEXT: Barcelona Fear Ansu Fati Has Made ‘A Big Mistake:’ Report

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