Neto is set to make his Barcelona debut while Gerard Pique and Lionel Messi have been rested for their Champions League tie with Inter Milan at San Siro.
Barcelona will be hoping to end their UEFA Champions League group stage campaign with another successful outing when they take on Inter Milan at San Siro on Tuesday night. And, Ernesto Valverde is set to ring in the changes ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
The shuffles will come into effect right at the back, with Neto set to make his debut for Barcelona. And, Valverde was full of praise for the Brazilian goalkeeper during his pre-match presser (h/t Barca Blaugranes), exclaiming, “Neto will play tomorrow, he is a great goalkeeper and he has not yet been able to play.”
Widespread changes are expected in front of Neto as well, particularly with Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto being rested by the Barcelona manager. Clement Lenglet is a part of the travelling squad to face Inter Milan, but is likely to be rested, like Pique and Roberto.
The 2️⃣0️⃣ summoned for the trip to Milan! pic.twitter.com/CD2OmOf8Ij
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 9, 2019
Pique and Lenglet should be replaced by Samuel Umtiti and young prospect Ronald Araujo at the heart of the Barcelona defence, with Moussa Wague getting another chance to impress in the absence of Roberto. Junior Firpo will complete the defensive line, starting as the left-back once again, with Jordi Alba still out injured.
Up ahead in midfield, Arthur remains sidelined due to a groin injury and will play no part against Inter Milan. The Brazilian midfielder was discussed by Valverde during his press conference, with the Barcelona boss iterating that the 23-year-old needs time to recover from his issue.
“He’s been having some issues since the last time he played for Brazil, we hope he recovers quickly so he will be able to help us. Little by little it has got worse. He preferred to have a rest to see if it improves. Last season it was a problem that dragged throughout the season.”
Arthur is not the only regular who will not face Inter, with Frenkie de Jong expected to be rested. Arturo Vidal should replace de Jong, with Carles Alena, who has endured a difficult season so far, likely to get a rare chance from the get-go. Sergio Busquets will complete the midfield trifecta, playing the Anchor Man role.
Another regular who has been rested is Barcelona captain Lionel Messi. With top spot in Group F already secured, the occasion was right for Valverde to give Messi a chance to avoid a midweek excursion, as discussing in his presser.
“We have been winning matches and watching what we have ahead, so I have decided not to bring Messi. Last year, we played a great game here and did not play Messi. He needs to rest. We’re coming off many consecutive games and we have other important ones to play.”
Like Messi, Luis Suarez should be given a breather even though he has travelled to Milan, with Antoine Griezmann leading the line against Inter Milan. Carles Perez and the fit-again Ansu Fati will be the two wide men for Barcelona.
Predicted Barcelona XI: Neto; Wague, Araujo, Umtiti, Firpo; Vidal, Busquets, Alena; Perez, Griezmann, Fati