Predicted XI

Messi suspended - How Barcelona could line-up against Cornella

The Argentine superstar was sent off for the first time in his career with the club in the Spanish Super Cup loss versus Athletic Bilbao

10:32am on Wednesday 20th January 2021
Martin Macdonald

Barcelona will be without Lionel Messi for Thursday's Copa del Rey clash against Cornella after he was sent off in the Spanish Super Cup final against Athletic Bilbao.

Thanks to an extra-time screamer from Inaki Williams, Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman was left empty-handed in his search for his first silverware as boss of the Blaugrana.

They would eventually lose 3-2 in the final, and to make matters worse, Messi's frustration got the better of him as he lashed out at Asier Villalibre with a slap to the back of the head.

He was subsequently dismissed for the first time in his Barcelona career and handed a two-match suspension.

It is, however, unlikely that Messi would have played from the start in the Copa del Rey, with the Blaugrana taking on a Spanish Segunda B side.

There could also be other rotation as Koeman looks to keep his key players fresh for La Liga action versus Elche on Sunday.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen will probably make way for Neto, with Samuel Umtiti possibly given a start in the middle of the defence with Clement Lenglet dropping to the bench for a rest.

Oscar Mingueza, too, might come in for a new central defensive partnership from the weekend, replacing Ronald Araujo.

With Sergi Roberto still injured, Sergino Dest will have to continue at right-back, but Junior Firpo might replace Jordi Alba at left-back.

Dest was replaced at half-time against Athletic but is thought to be fine to start in the cup. If not, Mingueza could play at right-back instead.

Miralem Pjanic is certain to start, probably at the expense of Sergio Busquets.

Pedri might move into a more advanced role, with Francisco Trincao replacing Ousmane Dembele on the right of the three behind the striker, with Martin Braithwaite coming in for the suspended Messi.

Barcelona predicted XI against Cornella

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