As Barcelona concludes its tour of the United States. The team is set to face AC Milan in a friendly match in Las Vegas. Yet, the excitement from the 3-0 victory over Real Madrid was short-lived due to ongoing negotiations between Dembélé and PSG, which disrupted the tranquility in Dallas. The joy of triumph in the Clásico was overshadowed by uncertainties surrounding Dembélé’s future. Xavi Hernández’s team embarked on this atypical tour with ten days in a single location (Los Angeles) and only three matches played out of the originally planned four, owing to a suspension caused by a bout of gastroenteritis.
Xavi aims to replicate the promising performance showcased against Real Madrid, offering a glimpse of the outline of Barcelona’s 2023-24 team, with or without Ousmane. Moreover, introducing a new gem from La Masia, Fermín López, to the football world. Although the lineup may vary significantly. However, the goal is to evoke the same sensations that the team left behind after the Clásico in Dallas.
The Barcelona expedition arrived in Las Vegas yesterday afternoon (Monday), or early Tuesday in Spain, to hold a training session at the Allegiant Stadium, the venue for the match against Milan.
The Dembélé Effect
However, the spotlight remains on Ousmane Dembélé, whose participation in the friendly match is uncertain. The Frenchman kept the Barcelona expedition in suspense throughout Sunday. Eventually, PSG sent a letter to Barça, requesting permission to negotiate with Dembélé. President Laporta referred to the player’s release clause, leaving the ball entirely in the winger’s court.
In terms of lineup, Xavi is expected to introduce some changes from the team that faced Real Madrid. Pending his fitness, we might see Gavi. He’s yet to play in this tour due to lumbar discomfort. Players like Christensen and Gündogan, who left early during the Clásico for precautionary reasons, might rest. Moreover, the coach will likely reward those who have yet to see game time. So far, the young talents Ander Astralaga, Mikayil Faye, Alex Valle, Aleix Garrido, and Marc Casadó have not had an opportunity to play.
Taking a cue from the first summer match in the US against Arsenal, Barcelona will don the second away kit. That means a white jersey, blue shorts, and blue-and-red socks vs AC Milan in this thrilling Las Vegas encounter.