Xavi confident Lewandowski can play for Barcelona vs Atletico despite Espanyol complaint over precautionary ban
- Suspended for incident before World Cup
- Ban was pushed back
- Espanyol slammed Barca for allowing striker to play
WHAT HAPPENED? Lewandowski was handed a three-game ban for making a lewd gesture at the referee in Barcelona's final match before the World Cup break against Osasuna. That punishment was put on hold, however, as the club filed an appeal that allowed their star man to start against Espanyol last Saturday.
Although the appeal is ongoing, and Lewandowski will likely still have to serve a ban, Xavi is confident that the Polish forward will be available for a massive La Liga fixture against Atletico this weekend.
WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking Tuesday afternoon before Barca's Copa Del Rey match against Intercity, Xavi announced that Lewandowski would not feature in the midweek cup competition, as the player needs a day off before the weekend. The Barca boss said: "He has a lot of minutes under his belt. It’s a good match for him to rest. We have some very important matches coming up. Not just tomorrow, and we want him to be there. We think he’ll be able to play [against Atletico] so we rest him."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Espanyol were furious that Lewandowski was able to play in their 1-1 draw against Barca on New Year's Day, and have lodged an official complaint to La Liga. Barca will hope that no further sanctions are imposed on Lewandowski, who is La Liga's leading goalscorer and a vital component to the club's title push. The striker has scored 13 times in 15 league appearances this year.
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WHAT NEXT FOR LEWANDOWSKI? Lewandowski will likely have to serve a suspension at some point. When that happens, though, is yet to be determined and as it stands he will be in line to feature against Atletico on Sunday.