After Barcelona’s historic unbeaten run was brought to an end just two games before recording the first invincible La Liga season in modern-day history last time out against Levante, Ernesto Valverde’s men will be keen to end on a high in what is Andres Iniesta’s final match for the Catalonians.
So, ahead of Real Sociedad visiting Camp Nou, let’s take a look at Barca’s possible XI.
After conceding five last weekend, ?Marc-Andre ter Stegen will be hoping for a quieter evening this time around in between the sticks.
With 18 clean sheets already to his name from 33 league outings, the German will be hopeful he can celebrate his World Cup inclusion in style and record another shutout.
Although it is easy to place blame on the reasonably inexperienced, Nelson Semedo and Yerry Mina both had evenings to forget against Levante.
A combination of simply abysmal positional play and physical weakness allowed Paco Jemez’s men to run riot during the opening hour, and in order to show there is promise ahead of next season, both need a strong performance in the season-ender.
However, undoubtedly the focus on Sunday will be placed on Iniesta, who will feature for the final time for Barcelona.
A successful 22-year career will bow out without an invincible title yet on the back of another domestic double, and a packed out Camp Nou will be keen to show their appreciation for the World Cup-winner before he departs.
Lionel Messi has the chance to sew up his European Golden Shoe crowning is style against Real Sociedad, a side which he has many memorable moments against – none more so than his spectacular free-kick earlier in the season.
Luis Suarez finds himself currently tied with Cristiano Ronaldo in second-place in La Liga’s top scorers – something he can claim all for himself with a goal on Sunday.
Andres Iniesta will bid farewell to ?Barcelona this Sunday as the curtain drops on the Spaniard’s final La Liga season when Real Sociedad visit Camp Nou.
In what was tipped to be the perfect send-off, the crowning of the invincibles and on the back of the domestic double, the 34-year-old will now bow out on a slightly sombre note after Levante brought a crashing end to Barca’s unbeaten run last weekend.
However, with mid-table
Andres Iniesta vs Asier Illarramendi
Of course, in his final showdown in the blue and red of Barcelona, Iniesta will be the one to watch as he attempts to leave Camp Nou with one more lasting memory.
Asier Illarramendi is expected to be the one who is tasked with keeping the 34-year-old magician quiet in what will undoubtedly be an evening to remember for the 28-year-old.
Centre back pairing
Official: Barcelona players Ousmane Dembélé and Samuel Umtiti have been included in the final list of the French team for the World Cup. Lucas Digne is not called up. pic.twitter.com/5IBN9G7xzs
— Barça Centre (@barcacentre) May 17, 2018
Barcelona will be desperate to bounce back from their shock defeat, despite running out 3-1 winners over
Iniesta, who will himself ?depart the Camp Nou this summer following the expiry of his contract with the Catalan club, insists that Barca should ensure that his long-time midfield partner remains at the club.
Sergio Busquets: “I prefer collective trophies over individual awards, although there have been years in which I honestly thought I deserved some. When we won Champions, World Cup or Euros, I thought I played a fundamental part”
— UNILAD Football (@UNILADFooty) May 14, 2018
According to ?Sport, there is a growing concern that Busquets has had trouble in getting the Barcelona board to be true to their word and offer the Spaniard a ?new contract on improved terms.
It is said that the holding midfielder would like ?greater recognition for his role at the club, and Iniesta insists that the Barca chiefs should ensure that this does not prompt Busquets to leave the La Liga champions any time soon.
Despite speculation in recent days, Pep Guardiola has no plans to bid for Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets. He has a €200m release clause that City would never meet and Barça will not negotiate anything below that. [Marca] pic.twitter.com/GISSgUrpO4
— City Watch (@City_Watch) May 17, 2018
“It would be a huge error if Busquets did not continue at Barca, for what he means as a player, but I don’t think that will happen because he’s got a lot more years in him and I understand he’s a fundamental player”, Iniesta said.
“I don’t know the personal situation, but the club should not allow doubts that this would happen. I don’t think the club will allow it.”
Bonito día!!! Las secciones campeonas!! Gran partido, gracias por el cariño!! Siempre Barça!! ?? pic.twitter.com/hAdsRm02le
— Andrés Iniesta (@andresiniesta8) May 9, 2018
Busquets has once again been an integral part of the Barcelona team which has won the domestic double this season, with Ernesto Valverde’s side running away with the La Liga crown, currently 12 points clear of Atletico Madrid who are second in the table and hammering Sevilla 5-0 in the final to clinch a fourth successive Copa del Rey victory.
Barcelona host Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou on Sunday for their final La Liga match of the season and Andres Iniesta’s farewell to his adoring home crowd.
Both Iniesta and the Barca faithful will be hoping that Busquets is not set to follow the legendary playmaker out of the exit door.
?Arsenal fans can’t really be blamed for not buying any rumours regarding their club and Barcelona attacker Ousmane Dembele.
The Frenchman only joined the Catalan side last summer, leaving Borussia Dortmund under hostile circumstances for a fee in excess of £100m – but the Spanish champions are reportedly looking to offload him ahead of next season.
According to Spanish radio station ?RAC1, Barca are already contacting clubs around Europe to inform them of Dembele’s availability. They did stop short of mentioning clubs by name, but Arsenal fans discussed the possibility of the Gunners launching a bid, via reddit.
“Still, this won’t happen because we are loaded with attacking players. Only chance I could see is if Barca wanted Ramsey, some type of swap + cash.”
While Dembele has made a slow start to his Barcelona career, it’s worth noting that he suffered a terrible injury at the beginning and missed a huge chunk of the campaign. He did score three goals, also assisting six, in 11 league starts this season, which isn’t exactly poor given the circumstances.?