How Will Barcelona Line Up in Recreativo Huelva Friendly Match?

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How Will Barcelona Line Up in Recreativo Huelva Friendly Match?
Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

The Luis Enrique era begins on Saturday evening deep in the south of Spain.

Well, it kind of begins.

Barcelona will take on Recreativo de Huelva, a team that plays in the Segunda Division, although Barca will not resemble the team that will line up in La Liga when it gets underway in August.

With the Spanish internationals not due back in training until later this month and some of the club's other World Cup stars also enjoying some time off, it will be a mixture of first-team squad players and B-team players that take to the pitch at the Estadio Nuevo Colombino.

In goal, Enrique has a choice between Jordi Masip and Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Presumably, Ter Stegen has been signed to compete for the No. 1 spot with Claudio Bravo, who has not yet returned to training, but Barca's new boss hinted earlier in the week that Masip could be the man to start against Huelva.

"The starter at the moment would be Jordi Masip," Enrique said in a press conference on Wednesday, per Lluis Mascaro of SPORT.

"I already know him from Barca B. But I'm not in a rush to make a decision."

Manu Fernandez/Associated Press/Associated Press
Ter Stegen in training
David Ramos/Getty Images
Masip and Ter Stegen

If that is the case, Ter Stegen will almost certainly be handed 45 minutes in the second half of the friendly.

In front of Masip, there will be just two defenders who will form part of Barcelona's first-team squad next season: right-back Martin Montoya and central defender Marc Bartra.

They will be joined by players from Eusebio's B team, possibly Frank Bagnack and Alejandro Grimaldo—Adriano would have been available to play on the left side of the back four, but a heart problem has ruled him out for up to six weeks.

Barca will also be without all of their first-choice midfielders.

Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez—whose future is not yet decided—are all set to return to training next week, as is Croatian Ivan Rakitic, while Argentina international Javier Mascherano will have a bit more time off after his participation in the World Cup final.

Meanwhile, Rafinha, who did return to training this week, will miss the match with a minor injury.

Therefore, Sergi Roberto is assured of a start, with Sergi Samper and young Croatian starlet Alen Halilovic two of the better options to line up alongside him in a midfield three.

Manu Fernandez/Associated Press
Barca back in training
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
Halilovic is likely to play

Options are also limited up front.

Gerard Deulofeu—who was caught on camera mimicking Cristiano Ronaldo in training, per the Daily Mail's Rik Sharma—will presumably take one of the spots in Enrique's forward line.

Ibrahim Afellay could line up alongside him, with young Cameroon forward Jean Marie Dongou the favourite to be placed in the middle of the attacking trio.

Bojan Krkic could also be involved, although he may only play a bit-part with his future expected to lie elsewhere—latest reports have placed him at Greek club Olympiakos, per Football Espana.

Exciting youngsters Munir El Haddadi and Adama Traore will be given time to impress from the bench, as will a host of other youngsters, presuming they haven't done quite enough to earn themselves starting spots.

 

Possible Line-Up: Masip; Montoya, Bartra, Bagnack, Grimaldo; Roberto, Samper, Halilovic; Deulofeu, Dongou, Afellay

Possible Substitutes: Ter Stegen; Munir, Bojan, Patric, Edgar le, Lucas, Babunski, Sandro, Dani Nieto, Joan Roman, Adama Traore

 

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