Vilanova faces Barca absentee crisis

New Barcelona boss Tito Vilanova faces a problem in the form of player absenteeism with the start of La Liga just over a month away.

At the moment only 14 footballers are expected to be at 100 per cent when pre-season training commences next weekend, with up to 10 players either injured, having left the club or involved in the Olympic Games.

Midfielder Seydou Keita confirmed on Sunday he will be joining Chinese outfit Dalian Aerbin after failing to accept a contract renewal, while the injured list is still long: Eric Abidal, Carles Puyol, Dani Alves, Thiago Alcantara, Isaac Cuenca and David Villa are all sidelined with the majority having serious question marks against them regarding whether they will be fit to start the new season.

Barcelona have so far had three players selected for Spain’s pre-Olympic squad: Cristian Tello, Martin Montoya and Jordi Alba, although a decision on the latter’s participation will be taken shortly with La Blaugrana not keen to add to his workload after his successful Euro 2012 campaign.

If Luis Milla’s men reach the final of the Olympic football competition on August 11 then it will mean the trio have just one week under Vilanova’s command before League action gets underway, with another added difficulty being the possibility that player’s could pick up injuries during pre-season.

The first-team squad available to Vilanova, barring any new signings, is:

Goalkeepers: Victor Valdes and Jose Pinto

Defenders: Andreu Fontas, Gerard Pique and Adriano

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Ibrahim Afellay, Javier Mascherano and Cesc Fabregas

Forwards: Alexis Sanchez, Pedro and Lionel Messi.

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