Why İlkay Gündoğan is on the bench for Barcelona vs Celta Vigo

Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernández has this evening provided an insight into his decision to leave star midfielder İlkay Gündoğan out of his latest starting XI.

Barca, of course, are currently locked in action.

Fresh off a disappointing 3-3 stalemate with relegation-battling Granada last time out, the Catalans have made the trip to Balaídos, desperate for a swift return to winning ways in a La Liga meeting with Celta Vigo.

As alluded to above, though, such endeavours, to start at least, will come sans the services of a key member of Xavi’s engine room ranks.

This comes with İlkay Gündoğan having been dropped to the bench.

German international Gündoğan has played an absolutely pivotal role for Barcelona across the season to date, featuring from the off in all but two of the Blaugrana’s league outings, notching five goals and six assists along the way.

Speaking to the media ahead of kick-off on Saturday, it therefore came as little surprise when the subject of the former Manchester City man’s absence from his line-up was put to the aforementioned Xavi.

Barca’s headmaster, though, moved to play the significance down, in confirming that Gündoğan was simply in need of a rest:

“Gündogan has played a lot recently and we wanted to rest him. Today’s midfield with Pedri, Frenkie and Christensen should be a great balance.”

Conor Laird | GSFN

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