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25.08.2007 12:39

The first squad list

Sandra Sarmiento

Frank Rijkaard has announced his squad for the first official game of the season. His squad for the league debut against Racing Santander includes Barça B central mid-fielder Marc Crosas but there is no room Thiago Motta.

Frank Rijkaard has named 20 players for the trip to Santander, 18 from the senior squad and 2 from the reserve squad who have been training with the first team for the whole week: Marc Crosas and Jesús Olmo. In this first squad list of the league season the manager has favoured the Barça B mid-fielder at the expense Thiago Motta.

Third outing for Crosas

Marc Crosas, who has been training the whole pre-season with the senior squad, is the main surprise in the list. However, this is not the first time Crosas has been named in the squad for a league encounter. Last season he was on the list for the games at home against Atlético Madrid and away against Getafe He was also included in the trip to Japan for the FIFA World Club championship. He made his competitive debut last season in the round of 16 of the Kings Cup against Badalona, playing 14 minutes in the second half.

Five absentees

entreno2508.jpgNeither Milito nor Giovani Dos Santos will make the trip to Santander. The Argentine defender will serve out a match ban which he picked up in the last game of last season while still with his previous club, Zaragoza. Giovani misses out due to his non-EU status with the three permitted foreign places being taken by Ronaldinho, Eto'o and Touré Yayá. Rijkaard will also be without the injured threesome of Edmilson, Puyol and Gudjohnsen. The Icelandic striker has been working on his fight back to fitness with one of the club coaches Josep Anton Pozanco.

Thuram fit

The French international defender has been struggling with a left ankle injury during the week and missed France’s midweek match. However, he trained as normal this Saturday and has been included in the squad. In today’s training session, held behind closed doors, goalkeeper Víctor Valdés had a slight back problem which was speedily resolved by one of the first team coaches, Jaume Jardí.

Possible debuts

Three seasons ago Deco and Samuel Eto'o made their Barça debuts in Santander. They couldn’t have made a better start, with Barça winning the game 2-0. This Sunday it could be the turn of Henry, Abidal and Touré Yayá to make their competitive debuts in the Barça colours.
The first squad list

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The complete list
The 18 players named by Rijkaard are: Valdés, Márquez, Xavi, Iniesta, Eto'o, Ronaldinho, Zambrotta, Henry, Sylvinho, Ezquerro, Messi, Deco, Thuram, Abidal, Oleguer, Touré Yayá, Jorquera and Marc Crosas.

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