La Liga News 

Barcelona lose Rakitic to injury

Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic will miss Saturday’s game with Espanyol and next Tuesday’s Champions League opener with Juventus.

The 29-year-old picked up a slight hamstring injury whilst on international duty and missed Tuesday’s World Cup qualifying game with Turkey.

He will now miss the Catalan derby against Espanyol at Camp Nou on Saturday and the game with Serie A champions Juve next week, potentially allowing new signing Paulinho the chance for a start.

Having struggled to sell a number of players this summer, new Barca boss Valverde has been left with a number of options in midfield which include Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Rakitic, Rafinha, Denis Suarez, Andre Gomes, Arda Turan, Sergi Roberto and Paulinho.

Should the former Athletic Bilbao manager maintain the club’s traditional 4-3-3 formation then six of those aforementioned will have to battle it out for a chance not only in the starting eleven but on the substitutes bench.

Whilst it is expected that Busquets, Iniesta and Rakitic are the favourable midfield three – Sergi Roberto has been staking a claim for a regular starting birth in midfield.

Iniesta, who is edging closer to retirement age, is expected to play less minutes this season too.

New signing Paulinho cannot be forgotten after his form for the Brazilian national side has been causing quite a stir in the Catalan capital.

Denis Suarez and Rafinha are still relatively young and could be happy for irregular football, but both Andre Gomes and Arda Turan will not be happy to miss out on a match day squad.

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