After pipping Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk to win his sixth Ballon d’Or crown earlier this week, Lionel Messi will present the award in front of the Camp Nou crowd before aiming to put on a resounding victory over relegation-threatened Mallorca side to continue as La Liga leaders.
The Blaugrana must be high on confidence ahead of the visit of Mallorca as they are on a five-game winning run in all competitions. With Lionel Messi slowly returning to his blistering form and the Barca defense finally taking proper shape, it’s David versus Goliath at Camp Nou when Barca faces Los Bermellones side with an atrocious away league record. 10 days before El Clásico, Barcelona are back home looking for a routine win and anything else will be a major surprise in Sunday’s clash.
Barca have been victorious in their last five encounters, with Mallorca failing to net in four of them. Their last home defeat came in 2008 (a 2-3 loss) which was almost twelve years ago. Barcelona had thrashed Mallorca 5-0 in their last meeting in 2013 powered by an Alexis Sanchez masterclass and the Royal club got relegated in the very season. Mallorca then achieved a brilliant double promotion to return to top-flight this season, starting their league campaign brilliantly before finally losing their way and now languishing in the 17th position.
Lionel Messi’s record against Mallorca is quite unbelievable with the little Argentine netting eight goals scoring in all of their last five meetings and on top of that, he is in a run of eight straight league matches with a hand in goal (9G+5A) this season so we can expect a Lionel Messi show tomorrow. Referring to the stats, FC Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde has never lost a home game against Mallorca while facing them six times ( 5W,1D,0L,16 GF, 3 GA ).
Sergio Busquets is expected to return to the lineup after missing out on Atletico game through suspension and with a full week of training, the rest of the squad must also be in top shape. Gerard Pique had given a big scare to Barca fans after being asked to be substituted in the Atletico game but he is fit for Sunday’s game.
Ernesto Valverde named an 18 man squad for Saturday evening’s fixture: Ter Stegen, Piqué, I. Rakitic, Sergio, Todibo, Suárez, Messi, Neto, Lenglet, M. Wague, Griezmann, Aleñá, S. Roberto, F. De Jong, Vidal, Umtiti, Junior and Carles Pérez.
Out: N.Semedo, Arthur, O. Dembélé , Jordi Alba, and Ansu Fati.
League Form Guide:
FC Barcelona: WWLWWW
Players to watch:
Lionel Messi( FC Barcelona) : 9 goals
Lago Júnior (RCD Mallorca) : 4 goals
Match time: 1:45 A.M, Sunday (NST)