Soccer

Barcelona’s new-look line-up without Lionel Messi as exit confirmed

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Barcelona confirmed on Thursday that Lionel Messi had left the club, blaming La Liga’s financial regulations for their failure to renew his contract. With Ronald Koeman facing up to being without the Argentina star next season, Express Sport looks at how Barcelona could line up after their talisman’s departure.

Goalkeeper – Ter Stegen

Marc Andre ter Stegen missed Euro 2020 after having knee surgery which also ruled him out of the final game of Barcelona’s season.

Barca look set to be without the German for the start of the new campaign, although last month AS reported that could he could be available again by mid-September.

In the meantime, Koeman will likely turn to Neto, who has been linked with interest from Arsenal.

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Defence – Pique, Lenglet, Garcia

Koeman tended to play a three-man defence towards the end of last season, and while he has fielded four at the back in pre-season, the signing of Eric Garcia from Manchester City gives him plenty of centre-back options.

There are long-term concerns over Gerard Pique given he is now 34 and has suffered injuries this year, but the former Manchester United man will bring huge experience alongside Clement Lenglet and Garcia.

Midfield – Emerson, De Jong, Busquets, Pedri, Alba

Barcelona have signed Emerson Royal from Real Betis this summer, with the right-back having gone on to earn invaulable experience with Brazil in their run to the Copa America final.

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The 22-year-old is set to compete with Sergio Roberto and Sergino Dest for the right-back/right wing-back berth, with Jordi Alba likely to be on the opposite flank.

In the centre of midfield, Frenkie de Jong will continue to team up with Segio Busquets, although Miralem Pjanic will also be vying for a place.

Pedri will also be also be set for more action next term following the 18-year-old’s impressive displays for Spain at Euro 2020.

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Attack – Demir, Griezmann, Memphis

Memphis Depay looks set to start in Barcelona’s new-look frontline after signing on a free transfer from Lyon this summer.

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Antoine Griezmann will look to step into the void left by Messi’s departure – although Sergio Aguero will be looking to dislodge him from the line-up as the former Manchester City star targets silverware glory in the final years of his career.

And they could be joined in attack by 18-year-old Yusuf Demir, who has been hailed as a potential long-term successor to Messi after joining Barca on loan from Rapid Vienna.

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