Barcelona striker not happy with game-time under Xavi: “It’s not enough”


It has been a frustrating start to the season for Memphis Depay at Barcelona.

The summer arrivals of Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha, along with the renewal of Ousmane Dembele’s contract, saw the 28-year-old drop significantly down the pecking order at Spotify’s Camp Nou, although he finished his debut season as the club’s top scorer.

The Netherlands international was very close to leaving Barcelona during the summer window when a move to Juventus appeared imminent. However, the transfer ended in failure, the Italians signed Arkadiusz Milik instead.

There was uncertainty surrounding Depay’s future until the final hour of deadline day when he confirmed he would stay at Barca.

However, playing time has been limited for the former Lyon striker under Xavi, whose first choice is the aforementioned trio of Lewandowski, Raphinha and Dembele.

In fact, Depay did not start in any of Barcelona’s first four league games. But he started each of the last two league games against Cádiz and Elche and reports claimed Xavi was impressed by his commitment and attitude.

Depay even scored his first goal just before the international break in the Catalan giants’ 3-0 win over Elche. However, he was withdrawn by the manager around the hour mark in both of his starts and the forward is unhappy with that aspect as he wants more minutes on the pitch.

Speaking to ESPN on international duty with the Netherlands, Depay said of his lack of game time: “I’m obviously looking forward to this week with the national team this time, you can imagine why.

“I played less than usual and it’s not something I’m used to. But here you know you’re going to play, so I’m extra motivated and grateful. “In the last two weeks I have had two starting places in La Liga. It is not enough.

“I take off after 60 minutes, but I crave more. There is more space in the last 25 minutes of the game and I always have the power to take advantage of it.”

Depay’s Dutch national team manager Louis van Gaal also spoke about the forward and his Barcelona team-mate Frenkie de Jong, saying he would like to see the two play more regularly at the club.

Given Barcelona’s busy schedule after the international break, Xavi is likely to rotate his squad more often. And it could open the door for Depay to get more minutes ahead of the World Cup.

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