Xavi Hernandez is facing a selection dilemma as he ushers in the new year.
FC Barcelona has been hit by another tide of positive Covid-19 results, further depleting his roster of available players for Sunday's match against Real Mallorca.
Sergio Busquets is suspended for the game in addition to the Covid-19 cases. Meanwhile, injuries have forced players such as Ansu Fati, Memphis Depay, and Pedri to miss extended periods of time.
As of Wednesday's latest update, seven members of Barca's first team had tested positive. Dani Alves, Samuel Umtiti, Clement Lenglet, and Jordi Alba were all ruled out of the trip to San Moix earlier this week.
Alejandro Balde, Gavi, and Dembélé all returned positive Covid-19 test results shortly afterwards.
This is a total mess for Xavi, who was already having difficulties with absenteeism in the absence of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Sergio Aguero was also lost, as he was forced into retirement from professional football due to a heart condition. Even his new acquisition, Ferran Torres, is still sidelined with a foot fracture.
Xavi still has a sufficient number of first-team players at his disposal when he forms a team to face Mallorca, but more positive cases may emerge in the coming days.
To proceed with a match in La Liga Santander, a club must now produce at least five first-team players, with the remainder coming from the reserves and youth squad.
A minimum of 13 players must be available, and Xavi is likely to include reserve team players Nico, Jutglà, and Abde.
At the present time, Marc Andre Ter Stegen, Ronald Araujo, Gerard Piqué, Eric Garcia, Oscar Mingueza, Frenkie de Jong, Riqui Puig, Sergino Dest, Neto, Luuk de Jong, and Philippe Coutinho are among the available healthy players.