FC Barcelona

Barcelona predicted lineup vs Rayo Vallecano - La Liga

Grey Whitebloom
All four La Liga defeats of Xavi's managerial career have come at home - including a loss to Rayo Vallecano in April
All four La Liga defeats of Xavi's managerial career have come at home - including a loss to Rayo Vallecano in April / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Barcelona welcome Rayo Vallecano to Camp Nou on the opening weekend of the new La Liga season on Saturday evening.

The Catalan behemoths have won 12 of their last 13 opening La Liga games. The only blemish on that streak was when they lost 1-0 to Athletic Club in 2019 thanks to Aritz Aduriz's spectacular late winner.

Here's the XI Xavi Hernandez may deploy to avoid a repeat of that acrobatic heartbreak.

1. Barcelona predicted lineup vs Rayo Vallecano

Gerard Pique
Gerard Pique is entering his 15th season of first-team football for Barcelona / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen - Barcelona's increasingly questioned custodian is one of only two goalkeepers to have hit double digits for La Liga clean sheets in each of the past six seasons.

RB: Sergino Dest - The Ronald Koeman-backed signing has struggled with injury since Xavi took over, but begins the campaign healthy.

CB: Ronald Araujo - The aerially dominant centre-back was only outscored by three Barcelona teammates in La Liga last season.

CB: Gerard Pique - For the second summer running, Pique has had his wage lined up on the chopping board.

LB: Jordi Alba - By his own reckoning, Alba is “one of the most hated players in football”.

CM: Gavi - With a full season of first-team football under his belt and ten caps for Spain already, Gavi will still be a teenager by the final of Euro 2024.

CM: Sergio Busquets - Only his current manager and a certain Lionel Messi have made more appearances for Barcelona than the ever-present "Busi".

CM: Pedri - Surprisingly, Oscar Mingueza played more La Liga minutes than Pedri last season. If the midfield prodigy can avoid his fitness struggles of the past, few players in the entire Barcelona squad will be used more often than the 19-year-old this term.

RW: Raphinha - The Brazilian kept Leeds in the Premier League last season and now has the opportunity to test himself at a higher level.

ST: Robert Lewandowski - Now starts a new challenge in a new country after 12 years and 447 goals in Germany.

LW: Ansu Fati - Across his last two injury-riddled seasons, Fati has averaged a La Liga goal every 96 minutes.