FC Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova saw 15 of his players called up for international duty for the upcoming international break which includes 2014 World Cup qualifying matches.
Call-Ups Mean Honor, Challenge For FCBHaving this many call-ups is both an honor and a challenge. While it is great to see so many Barcelona players asked to play for their countries, the timing of the international break hurts a side that has things to work out on the training ground. Barça were lucky to only be trailing Real Madrid 1-0 in the Clásico before Messi scored twice. Madrid would level five minutes after Messi's double on Cristiano Ronaldo's second goal of the match. With the injuries at the back mounting up again (Puyol, Dani Alves), defensive strategy needs to be addressed.
Defensive Concerns During International BreakSergio Busquets, who is suspended for the next two Champions League matches, joined seven Barcelona teammates on the Spain roster for World Cup qualifiers against Belarus on Oct. 12 and France on Oct. 16. Unfortunately for Barça, one of their three matches in eight days after the break is against Celtic in the Champions League. I'm hoping the club wins their appeal on Busquets' suspension because Barcelona needs the defensive help in the midfield with injuries at the back. Alex Song will need to raise his game if Busquets remains suspended. Luckily, Song will only play one match for Cameroon during the break. The injury to Alves means Adriano was the only call-up for Brazil and that Montoya will continue to be called on. Is it selfish to hope Montoya (who has joined Spain's U-21 side) won't be called on much against Denmark so he's fresh upon return to Barça?
Mascherano, Messi To Meet Teammate AlexisArgentina has called up Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano for matches against Uruguay (Oct. 13) and Chile (Oct. 17). In the latter match, Mascherano and Messi will face their Barça teammate Alexis Sanchez, who has been called up by Chile for matches against Ecuador (Oct. 12) and Argentina. I'm not worried about the fitness of any of these three players and their match against each other will be interesting to watch to see if Chile can get revenge for their earlier loss in qualifying to Argentina.
Patrick Johnston has been an FC Barcelona fan since Samuel Eto'o joined the club and wore the No. 9 shirt.