Barcelona face a pivotal three-game streak. They take on Valencia tomorrow evening at Camp Nou in La Liga before a must-win fixture against Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions League. Then, they welcome Real Madrid to Catalonia for the first Clasico of the season and the first in front of fans in almost two years.
Camp Nou will have no limit on attendance for the run, but it’s not yet known how many fans will actually turn up for each game; Barcelona are in dire form.
They sit ninth in La Liga – five points behind Madrid – and rockbottom of their Champions League group without a single point to their name.
Ronald Koeman is under intense pressure, although he has been given a stay of execution by Joan Laporta partly because the club’s financial situation means they lack the funds to part ways with him or bring in an adequate replacement.
One shining light at Barcelona this year, however, has been the emergence of Gavi. The 17-year-old midfielder debuted under Koeman at the beginning of the season and this past international break became the youngest player to ever play for La Roja.
“He’s shown, despite his age, that he knows how to play,” Koeman said in his pre-match press conference before the Valencia date in comments carried by Marca.
“He’s taken advantage of the opportunities given to him by me and Luis Enrique. He also bets on youngsters, who are the future. But we have to seek equilibrium and balance in the squad.”