Xavi confirms decision to drop Barcelona star from matchday squad to face Cadiz

  • Gundogan will not feature for Barcelona against Cadiz on Saturday
  • Veteran midfielder has played in every game of the season so far
  • Germany boss Julian Nagelsmann has criticised Barcelona's use of Gundogan
Gundogan is set to miss out against Cadiz
Gundogan is set to miss out against Cadiz / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

Barcelona manager Xavi has confirmed he plans to rest Ilkay Gundogan and leave the midfielder out of Saturday's squad to face Cadiz.

Gundogan, 33, has played in every game of the season so far for Barcelona and has missed just 429 minutes from a possible 3,980, with his heavy workload in Catalonia attracting criticism from Germany manager Julian Nagelsmann.

With Barcelona braced for the return leg of their Champions League quarter-final second leg against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday, Gundogan is set to be given the chance to rest his legs.

"We want to give him a rest," Xavi explained in Friday's press conference. "It's a shame that he doesn't participate, but we want him to rest.

"He's not a teenager. His performance is brutal and we'll see if he rests tomorrow."

Ilkay Gundogan
No player has played more minutes for Barcelona this season than Gundogan / Franco Arland/GettyImages

Perhaps not coincidentally, Gundogan is one yellow card away from a suspension in La Liga. Had he picked up a caution against Cadiz, he would then be banned for the clash with Real Madrid later this month.

Robert Lewandowski, Joao Cancelo and Inigo Martinez are all serving domestic bans but will then be free to face the La Liga leaders on April 21.

Xavi went on to admit that he could make a number of changes to his starting lineup and even teased a first senior appearance for 19-year-old centre-back Mikayil Faye.

"He is prepared and can play," Xavi said of the in-demand defender. "We are looking at many footballers: Faye, [Marc] Casado and many more. The academy has always produced."