Barcelona’s players will go on their Christmas holidays after their match against Alaves on Saturday, with Ernesto Valverde having given his squad a few days off to spend with their families.
The aim is that the players will return as soon as possible in order to have amble time to prepare for the Catalan derby against Espanyol in Cornella on January 4, before travelling to Saudi Arabia for the Supercopa de Espana three days later.
The European players will return to training on December 29 after seven days off, while Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal will be back under Valverde’s orders on January 2, just two days before the Espanyol clash.
Thus, with so little time before the Catalan derby, it will be difficult – but not impossible – for them to feature in the match.
The only doubts lie with Ousmane Dembele and Arthur Melo, with both recovering from their respective injuries. They may stay in Barcelona as they look to accelerate their return to action.