Barcelona boss Tata Martino has called up young strikers Adama Traore and Jean Marie Dongou for Saturday’s Camp Nou clash with Granada.
The Argentine has seen his team suffer a number of injuries this season, with key players such as Lionel Messi, Jordi Alba, Victor Valdes and Isaac Cuenca all sidelined, and he has summoned Cameroon-born Dongou, 18, and 17-year-old Adama into his squad.
“We have brought them in although it’s premature to give them minutes in a competitive fixture. The missing players are very good but those replacing them are very good also,” Martino told a Friday Press conference.
“Adama and Dongou are players who have featured with our younger sides. Adama is probably one of Barca’s most promising youngsters while Dongou has had some games as a winger, although we prefer him at centre-forward where he did well in pre-season.
“Our major injuries have been to Jordi, Leo and Victor while others were minor ones that kept players out for maybe two games. Right now it is not a great worry, but if we get any more then we might have to look at the situation.”
Valdes picked up a calf muscle injury in Spain’s midweek friendly with South Africa and will be replaced by 38-year-old reserve Jose Pinto.
“Victor’s absence was always going to be untimely because we will be missing the best goalkeeper in the world. But Pinto has done well every time he has played and the team has won. Somehow, we need to place less emphasis on those who are missing.
“I’ve not spoken to Pinto specifically, only about moves and tactics. There’s nothing special we should talk about. This is a League game and he’ll cope well,” he maintained.
Xavi Hernandez has been left out with an eye on next week’s Champions League fixture against Ajax, while Cristian Tello is still recovering from an ankle problem.
The full Barcelona squad is: Pinto, Pique, Montoya, Fabregas, Puyol, Pedro, Iniesta, Alexis, Neymar, Mascherano, Bartra, Sergio, Song, Adriano, Sergi Roberto, Oier, Adama and Dongou.