Martino set to make big changes for Barca’s trip to Getafe
Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino is set to bring a couple of big changes for the upcoming second leg of last 16 in Copa del Rey against Getafe. The possibility of Messi starting the game is still a bit bleak. The absence of Andres Iniesta will be of concern as well.
Iniesta has been left out of the squad set to travel to Coliseum Alfonso Perez because of a bruised knee the midfielder suffered in the goalless draw against Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
Full back Jordi Alba and midfielder Sergio Busquets have also been benched. Martino wants his regulars to rest ahead of another busy game schedule. Victor Valdes is expected to hand over his spot as well. Jose Pinto will fill in for him.
Sergi Robero, Martin Montoya and Alex Song are expected to be the ones to feature in the game. Neymar is expected to play a pivotal role in the absence of Barcelona’s talismans. Crtisian Tello, who grew out of favour after an injury, might also appear in the game.
“Neymar is training as normal,” Martino said. “We will look for a way to allow Cristian to participate, so that he can give us what he would like to. I want everyone who started the season here to end it with us.”
Barcelona defensive pair will be Marc Bartra and Carles Puyol. Bartra agreed to extend his career at Camp Nou after inking a contract extension on Wednesday. Martino sees Bartra becoming big asset for the club in the near future. Martino claims the decision will prove to be a positive one for Barcelona and Bartra.
“[Bartra’s] qualities are clear to see -- his motivation, his quality, his pride, his motivation to triumph in a Barca jersey,” Martino added. “He learns so much day to day training alongside Puyol, [Gerard] Pique and [Javier] Mascherano. With the future he has in front of him it was fundamental that Barcelona kept him for a long time. This is good news for everyone.”
Messi isn’t expected to start in the game. Martino has already announced that he will wait for Messi to regain full fitness before reintroducing him to the first team. Messi, who scored an injury time brace against Getafe in the first leg of the last 16 of Copa del Rey, is in line to feature for the return trip.
Martino’s confidence in the forward is a bit shaken after Messi’s year long spell from various injuries. Therefore, Martino will wait for Messi to be fully fit before throwing him back on the field.