Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola faces a defensive dilemma ahead of next week's King's Cup final after it was confirmed Dani Alves had broken his collarbone during training. The Brazilian right back was scheduled to be operated on at the Hospital de Barcelona on Wednesday afternoon.
Alves joins fellow defenders Carles Puyol, Andreu Fontàs and Éric Abidal on the sidelines, leaving Guardiola somewhat short-handed for the match against Athletic Bilbao. Gerard Piqué and Javier Mascherano will form the center back pairing with likely support from Adriano on the left and one of Barcelona B's defenders filling in for Alves. Guardiola has used Barça B right back Martín Montoya more regularly this season, handing the 21-year-old 10 appearances with the first team.
Vicente del Bosque said on Wednesday that he would wait until the last moment to decide whether to take Puyol, who underwent knee surgery last week, and David Villa, who is recovering from a broken shinbone, to the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine. The Spain coach announced a provisional squad on Tuesday but has until May 27 to make his definitive selection. "Puyol is a leader of the team and there is no hurry, and Villa represents efficiency in front of goal. In 10 days we'll cease to have doubts," Del Bosque said.
In the meantime, the Spain coach will be watching with concern as some Liga clubs embark on thoroughly absurd money-spinning tours around the globe as other nations gather together their squads for the finals. Real Madrid has gone divining for cash in Kuwait, where it will pocket three million euros for an exhibition match against the national side in near 40-degree heat on Wednesday. Atlético, which has three players in the provisional squad, has sought to cash in on the hugely popular Radamel Falcao with a jaunt to the player's native Colombia.