Facundo Pellistri is getting adjusted to life in Spain after being loaned out to Alaves.
Pellistri was an unused substitute last Friday night as Alaves secured an important win over relegation rivals Real Valldolid.
It wasn’t a surprise he didn’t feature, having only had two days training with his new club beforehand.
This weekend he has more chance to play, and you only have to look at the fixture list to recognise what a huge opportunity it is for Pellistri.
Bring on Barcelona
Yes, Alaves are taking on Barcelona in one of the glamour games which should really stand out for Pellistri.
It’s quite something. Pellistri’s first ever competitive game in European football could be on Saturday night at the Nou Camp.
Barcelona’s stadium is one where many United greats have played, with mixed success. None more famous than the iconic Treble clinching victory as United came back to beat Bayern Munich in stoppage time in 1999, thanks to Pellistri’s current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Pellistri can’t get swept too much in the enormity of the occasion, but he has to embrace it too, and use it as inspiration.
This is an opportunity for him to make an instant name for himself in Spain, and back in England.
Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona have won five straight games and sit in second place. So it won’t be easy. But Alaves have conceded only nine more goals than Barcelona this whole season and should put up a tough fight.
Pellistri should be happy to be there. It’s a huge upgrade from playing in under-23 games. He should also be determined to seize the opportunity.
Will he start?
Pellistri was officially unveiled by Alaves at a press conference this week even though he was on the bench on Friday.
He told Alaves’ website: “When a player plays on the pitch, he grows, and that is the path I seek. I am a player who attacks, I look for the diagonals and I like to go forward with the ball.”
Alaves may look to stick with a winning team after last week’s victory. That would be understandable considering they have only five wins in La Liga this season.
It is likely though that Pellistri will get on at some point. From United’s perspective it would be a shame if he doesn’t.
He has been sent there to play and Alaves beat competition from other clubs, partly due to the fact they promised him a fair chance of game time. It will be fascinating to see how he fares if he is thrown in at the Nou Camp.
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