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Barcelona manager Xavi has confirmed his intention to give Ilkay Gundogan a rest by omitting the midfielder from Saturday’s squad to face Cadiz.

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Gundogan, 33, has been a fixture in Barcelona’s lineup this season, featuring in every game and missing just 429 minutes out of a possible 3,980. However, his heavy workload has drawn criticism from Germany manager Julian Nagelsmann.

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With Barcelona preparing for the return leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday, Xavi sees the opportunity to provide Gundogan with some much-needed rest.

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“We want to give him a break,” Xavi explained in Friday’s press conference. “It’s unfortunate that he won’t be involved, but it’s important for him to recuperate. He’s not a young player anymore, and his performances have been exceptional. We’ll see how he fares after resting.”

Furthermore, Gundogan is one yellow card away from suspension in La Liga. Avoiding a booking against Cadiz would ensure his availability for the upcoming clash against Real Madrid later this month.

While Gundogan sits out, Xavi hinted at potential changes to the starting lineup, including the possibility of handing 19-year-old center-back Mikayil Faye his senior debut.

“He’s ready to play,” Xavi remarked about Faye, acknowledging the talent within the club’s academy. “We’re considering several options, including Faye, Casado, and others. Our youth academy has always been a source of talent.”

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