Iniesta, Xavi, Mascherano, Pedro, Jordi Alba and Cesc have all been left out of the side for Wednesday’s game with Benfica at the Camp Nou
Vilanova has named 18 players in his squad for the final Champions League group match, including the B team’s Tello, Deulofeu, Planas, Rafinha, Sergi Gómez and Sergi Roberto
Valdés, Pinto, Piqué, Puyol, Villa, Messi, Thiago, Dos Santos, Sergio, Montoya, Adriano, Song, Sergi Gómez, Sergi Roberto, Deulofeu, Planas, Rafinha and Tello.
Tito Vilanova has decided to rest some of his first team for the game with Benfica on Wednesday at 20.45, with first place in the group already assured regardless of the result. That means that the services of Iniesta, Xavi, Mascherano, Pedro, Jordi Alba and Cesc will not be required, although the manager has still picked Leo Messi, who needs one more goal to match Müller’s world record for goals in a calendar year. The squad of 18 is completed by Barça B’s Tello, Deulofeu, Planas, Rafinha, Sergi Gómez and Sergi Roberto.
With Barça already qualified, the pre-match schedule has been slightly different to the usual routine before European matches. The team trained this morning at the Ciutat Esportiva, with the first 15 minutes open to the media, and not at the Camp Nou as is the usual practice.
All the available players were there apart from Andrés Iniesta, who stayed in the gym, and Jordi Alba, who exercised in isolation. The injured Dani Alves, Alexis, Bartra and Abidal also worked out on the field.
Overnight at Hotel W
The players picked by the manager will be gathering again this evening. At 20.15 they are due to leave the Camp Nou and head for Hotel W in Barcelona. On Wednesday morning they will return to the stadium for a training session at about 12.00, behind closed doors, where they will finalise plans for the game with Benfica.