Ernesto Valverde‘s current squad has Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets as the captains. But according to Marca, the club will be appointing a new skipper during pre-season this summer, after the 2018 World Cup in Russia ends.
While the 33-year-old makes a decision before the end of May about whether to stay at Camp Nou or leave, with Messi expected to become the official captain in the second case.
Pique has been seen commanding the team on many occasions, but his vocal presence on the pitch might have been a reason he wasn’t given the captain’s armband earlier and Javier Mascherano was appointed instead.
Rakitic on the other hand has captained Sevilla in the past and is also the leader at international level with Croatia, and therefore is being seen as a frontrunner among team-mates Luis Suarez, Jordi Alba and goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Umtiti, whose current contract at the Catalan club runs until 2021, has been one of Barca’s most successful signings in the last few years and his release clause sits at just €60 million. The 24-year old star’s partnership at centre-back with Gerard Pique has been key to their defensive record this season.
During a questionnaire game organised by TF1, Umtiti was given the option to answer “yes”, “no” or “joker” to each question.
The Frenchman exercised the option to pass presented by the “joker” on two occasions.
First, when asked if he will renew at Barca. Second, when asked if he would sign for Manchester United.
Having given impressive performances week-in and week-out ever since his arrival at the club, it would be a surprise if Umtiti isn’t a top target for a club like United seeking defensive reinforcements.
The fixture will be held at Atletico Madrid’s home stadium, the Wanda Metropolitano, but Argentina are training at Madrid’s Valdebebas ground in the build-up.
However, the team will stay at the same hotel Barcelona use when playing in Madrid, after they arrive from England on Saturday.
Messi’s Barcelona are 15 points ahead of bitter rivals Madrid in La Liga and more or less guaranteed to win this year’s league title.
The team trained at Manchester City‘s training ground ahead of Friday’s friendly with Italy, with the Premier League club having been linked with an audacious move for Messi in recent months before he signed a new Barcelona contract in November.