Barcelona coach Xavi criticizes LaLiga's 'crazy' decision to play amid the COVID-19 outbreak - petsitterbank

Barcelona coach Xavi criticizes LaLiga’s ‘crazy’ decision to play amid the COVID-19 outbreak

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández has said it is “crazy” that this weekend’s game against Mallorca is going ahead after a COVID-19 outbreak at the Catalan club.

Barça has 10 confirmed positive cases among its first team squad and seven other players sanctioned, injured or in doubt for the match in San Moix.

However, LaLiga rules state that matches must be played if clubs have at least five first-team players available and can line up a 13-man team, with at least one goalkeeper, using the reserve team.

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“We will go to team B and we will go there to win the game, but we are missing 17 players,” Xavi said at a press conference.

“I’m worried. It seems crazy to me that [LaLiga] it will not suspend it. There is no point in playing. We are at the limit. Common sense should have prevailed.

“The rules are very tough. Mallorca is in a similar situation, although not as severe. It is chaos, but we will go there for the three points.”

Sergino Dest, Abde Ezzalzouli, Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho, Gavi, Dani Alves, Clement Lenglet, Jordi Alba, Alejandro Balde and Samuel Umtiti obtained positive results earlier this week.

Xavi says Umtiti has since tested negative and could still play Mallorca, but Sergio Busquets will definitely miss the game due to suspension.

Martin Braithwaite and Sergi Roberto were out of the game with injuries and while Memphis Depay, Ansu Fati and Pedri are close to coming back, Xavi said Sunday’s game “may come too soon” for them.

Despite that, Xavi still has at least nine first-team players available: Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Neto, Ronald Araujo, Eric García, Gerard Piqué, Oscar Mingueza, Frenkie de Jong, Riqui Puig and Luuk de Jong, which means the game must go on.

Team B players Nico González, Ferran Jutgla Alvaro Sanz, Arnau Comas, Mika Marmol, Guillem Jaume, Lucas de Vega, Ilias Akhomach and Estanis Pedrola have been training with the first team to replenish numbers this week.

Meanwhile, Xavi added that he has not given up hope of tying Dembélé to a new deal despite a setback in negotiations this week.

Dembélé, 24, is out of contract in June and is now free to speak to other clubs with Barça and their agents still cannot agree on the new terms.

“I am not disappointed,” Xavi said of the situation. “It is a negotiation. Sometimes advisers and agents can be difficult. But Barça’s position is clear and the process is underway.”

“I am optimistic and I hope that Ousmane will make an effort [to renew]. You have a fantastic offer. There is always a round trip. “

Xavi also confirmed that tying Dembélé to a new agreement would allow Barça the financial margin to register “one or two signings” in January.

By getting the forward to commit to the club, Barça can distribute the remaining amortization payments of the transfer fee that they paid for him in 2017 during his new terms, creating a space within the spending limit imposed by LaLiga of 97 million. euros for the season.

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