Joao Cancelo's minutes accumulated is enormous. The Portuguese full-back, who came from a pre-season with almost no competition, suddenly found himself playing absolutely everything. Both with Barça and with the Portuguese national team. Since those first minutes in Pamplona after just one training session, the full-back on loan from City has not stopped.
After the match against Osasuna, he has played 10 consecutive matches, only one of them as a substitute (he came on in the 60th minute in the Portugal-Luxembourg match on 11 September). 829 minutes in just one month and 10 days. A savagery.
For Xavi, he has become an indispensable player. Irreplaceable. The alternatives at right-back are not exactly abundant. Koundé, now injured, is very well established at centre-back. He will only play out wide if something seriously bad happens. Xavi and Barça needed a natural full-back. And now they have him.
His numbers so far are very good. But ahead there is a very dense calendar. With a derby in between and a match against Shakhtar in Montjuïc. Before that, on Sunday 22nd, a match against Athletic. With this gauntlet ahead of them, the Blaugranas are waiting for a 'gesture' from Portugal.
The Portuguese national team, after yesterday's win over Slovakia, have sealed their ticket to the next European Championship. It couldn't have been a better start for Roberto Martínez. Seven wins in seven games. The second game of this qualification window, which is inconsequential in terms of qualification, is expected to see a lot of rotation.
It would be a huge relief if Joao was rested against Bosnia. The other Joao, Félix, is likely to start. He was a substitute against Slovakia and is likely to be one of the players chosen by 'Bob' Martínez.
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