Jose Mourinho will return to Camp Nou in August to face Barcelona with his Roma side in the Joan Gamper Trophy.

The Gamper acts as the curtain-raiser for Barcelona's season, with the Blaugrana taking on Juventus in last year's edition, which was the first to involve both the men's and women's teams.

Barcelona announced on Wednesday that Roma are the chosen opposition for this year's version, with the games set to take place on August 6.

Mourinho will head back to the Camp Nou, where he was Louis van Gaal's assistant for three seasons until 2000, on the back of lifting the Europa Conference League with Roma.

The Portuguese coach is a largely unpopular figure among Blaugrana supporters after managing fierce rivals Real Madrid.

Mourinho guided Madrid to a LaLiga title, Copa del Rey crown and the Supercopa de Espana in his three seasons with Los Blancos.

It will not be the first appearance for Roma in the Gamper either, after the Serie A side were beaten 3-0 by Barcelona in the 2015 edition.

Santi Cazorla says Barcelona are fortunate to have his former team-mate and coach Xavi in the dugout, as he emphasised the importance of the Blaugrana holding onto young midfielders Pedri and Gavi.

Xavi led Barcelona to second place in LaLiga last term after returning to the club where he won three Champions Leagues as a player last November, having coached Cazorla as part of his only previous managerial assignment, at Qatari outfit Al Sadd.

Cazorla and Xavi were also team-mates during an immensely successful spell in the Spanish national team's history, with the former Arsenal and Villarreal midfielder featuring in triumphant European Championship campaigns in 2008 and 2012.

Speaking to Barcelona's official media channels during a visit to Camp Nou on Friday, Cazorla said Xavi was the idea coach for the Catalan giants due to his long-standing ties with the club.

"For me, he has been a benchmark, as a footballer and as a person," Cazorla said of Xavi. "We have faced each other in many league games, we have coincided in the national team, and I was lucky to have him as a coach. 

"He is a spectacular person, and personally I think he is the ideal coach for Barca.

"He knows the club and for him, it's a dream to be here. He knows what the demand here is. I wish him the best."

Barcelona were ninth in LaLiga when Xavi's predecessor Ronald Koeman was sacked last October, having won just four of their opening 10 league games.

Xavi oversaw a dramatic upturn in the Blaugrana's fortunes after taking charge, as Barca won 17 of their last 26 league games, aided by the January arrivals of Dani Alves, Ferran Torres and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Meanwhile, Cazorla also emphasised the importance of Barcelona – a club famous for producing diminutive creative midfielders – holding onto youngsters Pedri and Gavi.

While Pedri only made 12 LaLiga appearances during an injury-hit season, 17-year-old Gavi played 34 league games for Barca in the 2021-22 campaign, with Sergio Busquets (36 appearances) the only Blaugrana midfielder selected more frequently.

Gavi produced more league assists (five) than any of his fellow Barca midfielders throughout the course of the season, also creating 15 chances and boasting a passing accuracy of 89 per cent.

With Frenkie de Jong linked with Manchester United as Barcelona look to fund a move for Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, Cazorla says keeping the Spanish duo is imperative.

"They have to hold on to Pedri, Gavi... People who come out of the academy with strength," he added.

"I enjoy watching them play, it's nice. For the good of football, let's hope they make a good team."

The dominoes are starting to fall as Manchester United begin to carry out their transfer window plans.

Erik ten Hag's hire has inevitably led to another squad overhaul, and the rest of the market is in some way connected to who leaves and arrives at Old Trafford this off-season.

Reports suggest one of those arrivals could make for a reunion between the new manager and a former player of his.

TOP STORY – MANCHESTER UNITED MOVE ON FRENKIE DE JONG

New Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is looking to reunite with Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong,   according to Fabrizio Romano.

After announcing the departures of Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba, United are moving quickly for replacements and have reportedly commenced discussions with the Blaugrana.

While it is understood De Jong would like to remain with Barcelona amid their own rebuild under Xavi, it could ultimately be dependent on the club.

Although De Jong reportedly desires Champions League football, it could be a moot point if Manchester United meet a £72.5million (€85m) asking price. 

ROUND-UP

– Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah would prefer to join a Premier League rival at the end of next season if a new deal cannot be agreed upon, per the Athletic.

– Chelsea have opened talks with Sevilla over the potential transfer of highly rated France defender Jules Kounde, according to Sport.

– Manchester City remain keen on signing England midfielder Kalvin Phillips but Leeds United want to retain the player after securing Premier League safety, the Sun reports.

Real Madrid are looking to sign Jude Bellingham, but Borussia Dortmund are not willing to sell the player until the end of next season, Bild is reporting.

Manchester United and Chelsea are experiencing significant transformation this off-season, albeit for varying reasons.

While the Red Devils undertake yet another rebuild under a new manager, Chelsea are in the midst of ownership takeover.

It is reportedly creating the perfect storm for a shock transfer.

TOP STORY – MANCHESTER UNITED MAKE SHOCK MOVE FOR MOUNT

New Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is considering a move for Chelsea midfielder  Mason Mount according to the Sun.

The England international has seen talks for a renewed contract at Stamford Bridge stall, amid the prolonged takeover of the club by Todd Boehly.

In dire need to rebuild his midfield, and following Mount since his loan spell with Vitesse Arnhem, Ten Hag has reportedly already relayed United's interest with Mount's camp.

Liverpool and Manchester City have also made enquiries for Mount meanwhile, who according to reports, remains one of Chelsea's lowest-paid players. 

ROUND-UP

– Liverpool are tracking Rennes forward Martin Terrier as a replacement for Sadio Mane should he depart, according to the Mirror.

Barcelona boss Xavi has held talks with Portugal midfielder Ruben Neves over a potential transfer, per Sport.

Oleksandr Zinchenko is attracting interest from Everton and Newcastle United, the Athletic reports.

– The Guardian are reporting that Inter are exploring the possibility of a return for Romelu Lukaku.

Kylian Mbappe will not have long to wait until he wins the Ballon d'Or, according to Barcelona great Patrick Kluivert.

Mbappe was widely expected to join Real Madrid when his Paris Saint-Germain contract expired in June, but opted to sign a three-year extension in the French capital.

The 23-year-old cited the project changing at PSG as he hopes to secure a maiden Champions League success.

Mbappe was in scintillating form this campaign as he scored 28 league goals, a tally only bettered by Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (35) across Europe's top five leagues.

The France international also added 17 assists, with no player in Europe's biggest leagues managing more direct goal involvements (45) – Les Bleus team-mate Karim Benzema ranked second with 39.

Mbappe will look to deliver World Cup glory for France in Qatar later this year, and Kluivert believes it will only be a matter of time before the PSG talisman wins the Ballon d'Or.

"Mbappe is one of the best players out there at the moment," former PSG director of football Kluivert told Spanish daily Mundo Deportivo.

"I congratulate him on his recent renewal with the team. I think he will win the Ballon d'Or shortly."

 

Kluivert also discussed his former club Barca, who ended LaLiga in second despite languishing in ninth when Xavi took charge after Ronald Koeman's dismissal in late October.

Xavi will now be tasked with rebuilding in the transfer window as he looks to close the gap on Champions League and LaLiga winners Real Madrid.

Kluivert played with Xavi at Camp Nou, and backed his former team-mate to transform Barca's fortunes.

"Next season he will have many possibilities to improve the team, I have a lot of faith in him," Kluivert said.

"The club has very good young players who know the values ​​of the club. I am confident that Barca will return to where it was."

Xavi is hopeful Barcelona will be able to announce a new contract for Gavi "in a few days". 

Barca president Joan Laporta this week publicly stated the club were frustrated by the delay in the 17-year-old signing a renewal. 

Laporta suggested Gavi's agent Ivan de la Pena – a former Barcelona team-mate of Xavi – was comparing the offer to others, with the Spain international only having one year left on his deal. 

However, Xavi was optimistic Gavi will put pen to paper in the near future after Barca beat the A-Leagues All-Stars 3-2 in Sydney on Wednesday. 

"These things take time, but I'm hopeful that in a few days we can announce something," said Xavi. 

 

The Barca boss was far less convincing when asked about the future of Frenkie de Jong. 

De Jong has been linked with a move away to help the club finance a move for Robert Lewandowski. 

Xavi said of the Netherlands midfielder: "He is a key player for us and he will continue to be, but everything depends on the financial situation of the club. We'll see what happens." 

Both Barcelona's Adama Traore and Western Sydney Wanderers' Adama Traore got on the scoresheet as the Blaugrana saw off the A-Leagues All Stars in a 3-2 friendly win on Wednesday.

Xavi's men beat their hosts at Accor Stadium in front of an engrossed local crowd in New South Wales, as Ansu Fati's strike with 13 minutes to go claimed victory for the visitors.

In just the third-ever A-Leagues All Stars game – and first since 2014 following the format's revival – Dwight Yorke's side fell behind to the Spanish heavyweights just past the half-hour mark.

Ousmane Dembele – potentially playing his final match for Barca – latched on to a throughball before striking a clean left-footed strike into the bottom-right corner to ensure the visitors were ahead at the interval.

But Wellington Phoenix midfielder Reno Piscopo bundled home early in the second half to level matters after Barca were sliced open at the back, and he then teed up Ivory Coast international Traore to take a surprise lead.

Hopes of a shock scalp were dashed though when the latter's namesake – in possibly his last Blaugrana game as well – equalised as the goalkeeper failed to keep out his ferocious drive.

Fati then got the winner five minutes later, providing a cool finish after Antonio Aranda's solo run.

Barcelona boss Xavi asserted the club must be "humble" after they marked the end of the season with a 2-0 loss to Villarreal on Sunday.

Goals from Alfonso Pedraza and Moi Gomez handed the seventh-placed Villarreal their first LaLiga win at Camp Nou since 2008 and punctuated Barcelona's trophy-less season, finishing 13 points off the title-winning Real Madrid.

The fact Barca even finished second provided some cause for satisfaction given their start to the season, after winning only four of the opening 13 league games and sitting ninth in November, when Xavi took over from Ronald Koeman.

The 42-year-old believes, amid an expectant fan base, the time to get to work and transform the squad to his liking has officially come, now Barca have reached the end of the season.

"I keep the minutes in which people have cheered," Xavi said post-game. "It is normal, the public does not like to lose. But taking stock, we have to be satisfied. We have to be humble and see reality. Now the work of the office begins.

"We have to change things. We have to opt for titles. We have to change things. We have to improve and strengthen ourselves."

After only managing Al-Sadd for two years before taking on the coaching role at his former club, Xavi has experienced a baptism by fire upon his return to Europe, with crises gripping his boyhood club both on and off the pitch.

The Blaugrana have experienced positive and difficult moments in his first coaching role in Europe, defeating Real Madrid 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu but also falling meekly in the Europa League at the hands of eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt.

On a personal level, Xavi is in a sense satisfied he has aided Barcelona in qualifying for the Champions League and salvaging their season, but is the adamant his squad must improve.

"I knew that it was coming at a complicated and difficult moment," he said. "We have improved, but not enough. We have played brilliant games, but we have to be more reliable. I am here to add value, now we have to work for next year. We have to be positive.

"We've saved a season that could have been disastrous. I'm satisfied on a personal level. We came from one of the worst moments in the club's history. A lot of things have to be changed.

"This season has gone as it has gone. The coach has changed. And now we cannot come second. We have to reinforce ourselves very well. We have to compete. We have to change many things."

Xavi has insisted Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland were never realistic targets for Barcelona, though he is confident he will have money to invest in the squad. 

Barca wrap up what has been a turbulent season against Villarreal on Sunday. 

The Blaugrana will finish second in LaLiga, a testament to the work done by Xavi since he replaced the much-maligned Ronald Koeman earlier in the campaign. 

However, they were knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage and fell to a defeat to eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League quarter-finals, while there was no success in the Copa del Rey either. 

The 2021-22 season came on the back of Lionel Messi's shock departure, as Barca grappled with financial issues that saw the superstar leave for Paris Saint-Germain. 

Ferran Torres, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Adama Traore arrived to bolster the squad in January, though the latter two were on a free transfer and a loan respectively. 

Barca were linked with moves for Mbappe and Haaland. However, Mbappe is weighing up offers from Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid while Haaland is joining Manchester City, and Xavi has claimed there was never any chance of the Blaugrana having the financial capability to sign such players. 

 

"Ask me another question," he told a news conference on Saturday. "Mbappe, let him do what he wants, let him be happy.  

"We do not enter into this equation. I do not understand the question. 

"We cannot put a lot of money in. The economic situation is what it is. We did not enter the bidding of Haaland or Mbappe but that is what we have inherited. 

"There is no need to look back. You have to carry on. We have to compete and win titles again, we need to be competitive from now on. 

"The president transmits confidence to me and that we will be able to invest in our squad. We have made a plan and we will try to execute it.  

"The economic situation is serious but it is not my turn to talk about money. I'm here to talk about football. The economic problems are what they are, but let's talk about football." 

One player who has been heavily linked is Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski, who plundered 50 goals in all competitions in the 2021-22 campaign. 

 

No player across Europe's top five leagues has scored more goals than the Poland striker this season, but he has told Bayern he wishes to leave and will not be signing a new contract, with his deal ending in June 2023. 

However, LaLiga president Javier Tebas on Friday cast doubt on Barca's ability to be able to afford the 34-year-old. 

Asked about Lewandowski, Xavi said: "It is one of the possibilities that may come. He has said it himself.  

"There are some negotiations involved. It will not be easy with Bayern involved." 

One possible outgoing at Barca who could free up funds would be Frenkie de Jong. Both Manchester clubs are credited with an interest in the Netherlands international who joined from Ajax in 2019, though it has been reported the 25-year-old is in no rush to leave the Camp Nou. 

"Here we go back to talking about the economic situation," replied Xavi when pressed on the De Jong speculation.  

"He is, for me, a great player who is very capable and very dominating, he can help us a lot, but we go back to talking about money and I don't want to do that." 

Xavi hailed Barcelona for saving a season that "could have been worse" but wants improvements next term from the Blaugrana, who Ousmane Dembele could play his last game for on Sunday.

Blaugrana great Xavi was appointed in November as the successor to Ronald Koeman, with Barca languishing in ninth in LaLiga after an underwhelming start to their 2021-22 campaign.

However, Xavi has reinvigorated Barca as the Catalan giants have climbed up to second in the league, albeit 13 points behind champions Real Madrid with one game left to play.

Barca conclude their campaign at home to Villarreal, and with second place already secured Xavi praised the recovery his side has made, but urged them to improve to compete with Madrid next season.

"We have saved a situation that could have been worse," he told reporters at a pre-match news conference on Saturday. "We have gone from less to more. We have competed but it has not given us any reward. We have to win titles. 

"I don't give myself a grade because whatever is said will be criticised. We have improved a lot. I am the first to demand more from myself. From now on, we will look to improve further.

"We have to improve in every way – psychologically, physically, which we have already improved, and reinforce the squad with two players per position. And also tactically, so everyone understands our ideas."

The game against Villarreal could prove to be Dembele's last at Camp Nou as contract negotiations remain ongoing.

Bayern Munich and Chelsea are reported to be keen on the World Cup-winning winger, whose 11 LaLiga assists in 2022 is more than any other player has registered across Europe's top five leagues.

Blaugrana president Joan Laporta has reiterated his desire to keep the France international at Barca, and Xavi hailed Dembele for his efforts in the second half of the season.

"It could be the last. You have to be optimistic. He has played excellent games and when he has not been involved we have noticed," he said of the former Borussia Dortmund player.

Barca have won their last five games against Villarreal in LaLiga, and could register six wins in a row against them for the first time in the competition.

However, Xavi expects a tough task when his team host Unai Emery's side, who made it to the Champions League semi-finals this season, where they were defeated by Liverpool.

"The result will be important. I would like to see a team with good feelings, bravery and finish with the best feelings," he continued.

"Villarreal is the best team we have faced. They have a lot at stake, and are a difficult opponent. You have to have a personality that the fans come to enjoy. There will be chances and it will be a good show."

Barca have confirmed Ronald Araujo will return to the squad after recovering from a head injury that caused him to spend a night in hospital following the game against Celta Vigo on May 10.

Barcelona boss Xavi looked to remain positive following a goalless draw with Getafe, as the club approach the end of an empty-handed season.

Barca lacked verve in the middle of the pitch without Pedri at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez, creating nothing of substance despite having 71.3 per cent possession for the match.

The Blaugrana remain 12 points from Real Madrid, with both teams only managing a point this weekend, but the latter have the LaLiga title already wrapped up with a Champions League final awaiting.

Xavi wants to remain upbeat coming into the off-season, however, believing Barcelona have salvaged a season that could have finished much worse. Since his appointment, Barcelona have surged from mid-table to second place, which is where they will finish.

"As for the league, we were very far away, but the reality is that we have not been able to compete in other competitions. Now things have to be corrected, but it could have been worse," Xavi said.

"If the economic situation is good, I'm optimistic, but we'll wait. We have to plan now and we don't have much time. We are already against the clock to plan and to decide things."

Barca were knocked out of the Champions League's group stage and the Copa del Rey's last-16, opening with only four wins in their opening 11 league games before Xavi was announced to replace Ronald Koeman in November.

A 4-0 win over title winners Madrid in March was soured by their eventual elimination at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt in the quarter-final of the Europa League, confirming a trophy-less season.

Post-match on Sunday, despite Getafe generating a greater xG (0.43-0.22) with 28.7 per cent possession, Xavi tried to bring the result into context.

"The goal was to qualify for the Super Cup, to finish second, and we've covered that," he said. "Just as we were in November, December, January, we can be happy. Not so much with this game, we were too tidy in the first half, we need to generate more.

"We have not achieved the main objective of winning titles, I would not have signed for it [when taking the job], but we have denied the blow of a disastrous season."

Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo is a shock contender to face Getafe on Sunday – just five days after suffering a head injury that caused him to spend a night in hospital.

The 23-year-old Uruguayan suffered a heavy blow in Tuesday's 3-1 LaLiga win against Celta Vigo, clashing heads with team-mate Gavi shortly after the hour mark.

Both sets of players urged medical staff to come onto the field, and Araujo received around 10 minutes of treatment before leaving the pitch in an ambulance.

Xavi said after the match that Araujo was "conscious and out of danger", and his discharge from hospital was confirmed on Wednesday.

Barcelona stated on Tuesday that Araujo had suffered concussion, which is a brain injury.

In England, Football Association rules stipulate that any player with concussion should not be allowed to play again for at least six days; however, Barcelona believe Araujo could be ready to feature in Spain's LaLiga after coming through training with team-mates.

"Araujo wants to play," Xavi said on Saturday. "For us that means a lost. At no time was he unconscious, and he wants to play. He wants to be with us.

"I am moved by the commitment he has. The feelings on the training field are very good. He was not unconscious and in that sense it is important so that he can be there tomorrow."

Araujo posted on Twitter on Friday: "Thank God everything went well and it was nothing serious. Thank you all for your support. Blessings!"

The Uruguay international has played 42 times this term, totalling 3,181 minutes on the field – only Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Frenkie de Jong have played more minutes among outfield Barca players.

Xavi insisted age would not be a barrier when Barcelona rebuild in the close season as the Catalan giants continue to be linked with 33-year-old Robert Lewandowski.

The Barcelona head coach said he had not concluded discussions with club power-brokers over transfer plans, and had not spoken to the team's current players about plans.

Bayern Munich frontman Lewandowski is reportedly keen on joining Barcelona, while Xavi did not rule out an exit for Frenkie de Jong, who has been linked with Manchester United.

Uncertainty lingers over whether Barcelona will have much financial clout in the transfer window, as they attempt to come through an economic crisis that has hit Camp Nou hard.

It may be that the likes of De Jong – in what should be their prime years, at the top of their market value – have to be sacrificed in order to bring in the quick-fix solution that a player such as veteran goal-getter Lewandowski might provide.

Xavi told a news conference: "The circumstances of the club are what rule. I have an important part in decision-making. From here on, we depend on the economic situation.

"In a few days we should know where we are in order to plan for next season. The economic situation keeps us at bay, it is obvious that marks the present and the future of the club."

Asked about Dutch midfielder De Jong, Xavi said: "For me, he is a very important player. He has been a starter almost always, except when he has been rotated.

"He is a fundamental footballer, but then there is the financial situation of the club. He is a player that I like very much, but we are going to see how the situation is."

Xavi said Barcelona have "untouchables" in their ranks who must not be transferred, and although he did not name such players, the growing number of youngsters coming through the ranks such as Ansu Fati, Pedri and Gavi likely fall into that category.

Lewandowski, who has scored 49 goals in 45 games for Bayern this season, could be the player that allows Barcelona to bridge the gap to Real Madrid next season. Barcelona have moved far closer to Madrid's standards since Xavi was appointed in November, after a dismal start to the campaign under Ronald Koeman, but Los Blancos have carried off the LaLiga title with a comfortable cushion.

In light of the Lewandowski reports, Xavi was asked whether he could sign veteran players and was adamant he would, contingent on whether such stars kept themselves in good shape.

"I signed Dani Alves at 38," Xavi said. "It's not age, it's performance. Players take care of themselves so much and every year they are more professional.

"Ibrahimovic, Modric, Dani Alves, they all have a very high performance at important clubs. Cristiano [Ronaldo] and [Lionel] Messi too. Age is not a priority. If it improves us, that's the important thing."

Xavi declined to say whether Barcelona would be targeting a goalscorer, declaring it was "not the time to talk about this".

However, he said: "The club knows what we need to be competitive. The board will demand titles from us, and we have to improve."

Xavi, whose side face Getafe in LaLiga on Sunday, explained: "We're talking a lot about players for next year, but we still haven't met the goal of finishing second. There are two games left to finish with a good feeling. Then we'll plan and decide."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hopes "with all my heart" that Ousmane Dembele will sign a new deal to stay on at Barcelona.

Dembele is into the final few weeks of his contract and has been widely tipped to join another club as a free agent.

The France international was told publicly to leave Barca by the club during the January transfer window after talks over fresh terms broke down.

But after initially being shut out of the side, Dembele has forced his way back in and has been a consistent performer for the Blaugrana over the past four months.

Indeed, after setting up two goals in Tuesday's 3-1 win over Celta Vigo, Dembele has now assisted a LaLiga-high 13 goals this season.

That includes 11 assists alone since the turn of the year, which is two more than former team-mate Lionel Messi as the most across Europe's top five divisions in 2022.

Aubameyang profited from another of those assists against Celta and has called on Dembele, who he also linked up with at Borussia Dortmund, to remain at Camp Nou.

"He is my little brother," Aubameyang told Movistar+. "We have been together for a long time, from the first day he arrived at Dortmund.

"Over time we have built up this sibling relationship. That's why I love him so much.

"He's doing very well now and I am very happy for him. I hope with all my heart that he stays." 

Dembele is one of three French players since 2006-07 to have provided 13 or more assists in a single season across Europe's top five leagues, along with Kylian Mbappe and Christopher Nkunku. 

 

Aubameyang scored twice for Barca after Memphis Depay had earlier opened the scoring, before Iago Aspas' strike seemingly gave Celta a route back into the match.

That was Aspas' 10th goal in 15 LaLiga games against Barcelona, a tally that only Diego Forlan can match against the Catalan giants in the competition this century.

But Jeison Murillo was dismissed for a foul on Depay and Barca saw out the win, albeit one that was overshadowed by a sickening head injury sustained by Ronald Araujo.

Barca have now won three in a row to all but seal second place in LaLiga, though head coach Xavi was left with mixed feelings as his side were not at their best.

"We didn't play a good game, yet we still got the three points," he said. "The feeling is not overly good. We have to understand what each game requires.

"It was hard for us to understand that we had an extra man. We lacked the neatness that we have asked so much for. But we were effective and continue to fight for second."

Barcelona coach Xavi has confirmed Ronald Araujo "is conscious and out of danger" but will spend the night in hospital after leaving the win against Celta Vigo in an ambulance.

Araujo clashed heads with team-mate Gavi shortly after the hour mark in Tuesday's LaLiga match when contesting an aerial ball just inside their own half.

Gavi stayed down, whereas Araujo initially appeared to chase after the ball, only to then collapse to the turf.

Both sets of players urged medical staff to enter the field, and the 23-year-old received around 10 minutes of treatment before being taken to a nearby hospital.

The incident somewhat overshadowed Barca's 3-1 victory, but Xavi provided a positive update on Araujo's condition shortly after full-time.

"We were scared at first," Xavi told Movistar+. "The doctors have told us he is conscious and out of danger. But he will be spending the rest of the night in the hospital.

"Tomorrow, hopefully, he will be back at home. It's just a scare."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's double, after Memphis Depay had earlier opened the scoring, gave Barca a 3-0 lead against Celta.

Celta recovered from three goals down to draw 3-3 in November's reverse fixture, though, and pulled one back through Iago Aspas at Camp Nou.

However, a red card issued to former Barca loanee Jeison Murillo ultimately ended the visitors' hopes of rescuing another unlikely point.

With his goal, Aspas has now scored 10 times in 15 league games against Barcelona – only Diego Forlan has scored as many against them this century in LaLiga.

Aspas was asked about his goal in his post-match interview, but his immediate focus was the well-being of Araujo.

"Firstly, I want to send a message of encouragement to Ronald. I don't know what happened," he said. "He left on a stretcher, but they have told us that now he is better. 

"At first when I saw the incident, he looked a bit stunned. Then I saw him from the side, with his head down and that's why we called the medics.

"In the game, we have had many more chances than Barcelona, but we weren't effective neither in the rival area nor our own."

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