14 Barcelona players called up for international duty

Argentina's forward Lionel Messi (C) and teammates attend a training session at the Real Madrid's training facilities of Valdebebas in Madrid on March 18, 2019, ahead of the international friendly match between Argentina and Venezuela in preparation for the Copa America, to be held in Brazil on June and July 2019.. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP) (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Argentina's forward Lionel Messi (C) and teammates attend a training session at the Real Madrid's training facilities of Valdebebas in Madrid on March 18, 2019, ahead of the international friendly match between Argentina and Venezuela in preparation for the Copa America, to be held in Brazil on June and July 2019.. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP) (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images) /
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The last international break of the domestic season sees 14 Barcelona player join up with their national team squads.

Barcelona head into the international break in great form with six consecutive wins in all competitions as well as being on a 13 game unbeaten run. They will be hoping that this break doesn’t halt their momentum as they are about to start the crucial last few months of the season. An injury to a key player would be a huge blow and they are already without Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele for the next few weeks.

The most significant piece of news for this break is that Lionel Messi has returned to Argentina’s squad after having a break in the aftermath of a disappointing World Cup. In his absence, Lionel Scaloni has shown signs of promise in terms of the personnel he has selected as well as the systems he has used, so he now a chance to incorporate their talisman ahead of the Copa America tournament in the summer. However, Messi is only expected to feature against Venezuela and avoid the Morocco match to keep him fresh for the Catalans.

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Arthur and Philippe Coutinho have been both called up to the Brazil squad by Tite as they prepare to host the Copa America in the summer with friendlies against Panama and Czech Republic. After his recent form, Coutinho can count himself lucky that he has kept his place especially with the amount of talent that can be called upon.

Jeison Murillo and Arturo Vidal make up the rest of the South American contingent as they join up with Colombia and Chile respectively. Colombia have friendlies against Japan and South Korea, while Chile face Mexico and the United States.

Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto and Sergio Busquets have all been called up by Luis Enrique as they start their Euro 2020 qualifications campaign against Norway and Malta. Samuel Umtiti has returned to the France squad after his injury lay-off, but Clement Lenglet is a shock absentee after an excellent campaign for Barcelona so far this season. Les Bleus start their campaign against Moldova before hosting Iceland.

Nelson Semedo has been rewarded for his recent form by Fernando Santos with a return to the squad after missing out on the last few. Portugal start their Euros title defence against Ukraine and Serbia.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Jasper Cillessen both join up with their national teams, although Ter Stegen is still behind Manuel Neuer in the pecking order even though he has been significantly better this season. They are set to be on opposing sides as the Netherlands host Germany. The Netherlands also play a qualifier against Belarus, while Germany play Serbia in a friendly.

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Thomas Vermaelen has recovered from his calf injury so he has been called up to the Belgian squad for the qualifiers against Russia and Cyprus and Ivan Rakitic joins up with the Croatia squad as they look to put the disappointment of failing to qualify for the Nations League finals behind them and build on the impressive second place finish at the World Cup. Croatia face Azerbaijan and Hungary in their first two qualifiers.