- La Liga updates from the 7.45pm (BST) kick-off at Camp Nou
- Who needs Ronaldo? Madrid’s new No 7 takes centre stage
- And feel free to email or tweet John your thoughts
Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, Vidal, Arthur; Suarez, Messi, Dembele. Subs: To follow…
If the money men have their say, the return of this fixture, set for January, will be played in the USA! USA! USA!, Miami to be precise, rather than Estadi Montilivi. Playing a “regular season” game abroad continues to be a battleground, with Real Madrid prez Florentino Pérez saying earlier today that he won’t be taking his lads across the Atlantic. It is an issue that continues to rage in Spain, just as it did in England a decade ago or so over the 39th game.
On with the actual football? Well, sort of. Let us recall that Girona are the club part-owned by Manchester City’s owners, and part-owned by Pep Guardiola’s brother Pere. Without the cash thus flowing into the club’s accounts, and the talent shunted across the City Football Group mothership, it is unlikely they would have pushed for the Europa League last season. This is a derby match of sorts, with Girona purportedly near to Barcelona, as anyone who has caught a budget flight to “Barcelona” will know; it’s about 100km and takes about 90 minutes on a ten euro bus as Catalonia’s answer to London Southend Airport.
The football, then. Barcelona have an unbeaten record this season and Lionel Messi smashed in a hat-trick in the Champions League. Girona have only lost once this season, and that was to Real Madrid.