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Barcelona sacrifice brazilian star from their Europa League squad

Barcelona have omitted Dani Alves from their Europa League squad after new boss Xavi was forced to sacrifice one of his four new January arrivals to tackle the competition.

UEFA rules set out that a club can only include three new arrivals in their European squad after the January window, and Barca brought in a quartet of fresh faces during a busy transfer market.

Alves, 38, made a surprise return to Catalonia, along with Ferran Torres, Adama Traore and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the latter duo signing in the last few days of the window.

And Xavi has opted to leave Alves out of his 23-man squad for this year's Europa League, with Barcelona sent packing from the Champions League after being knocked out in the group stage.

Reports in Spain had suggested that the Barca boss was leaning towards excluding Aubameyang, but appears to have had a change of heart.

Alves' exclusion appears a surprise decision, with Xavi left with only one recognised right back in Sergino Dest, while Sergi Roberto and Oscar Mingueza have filled that position previously.

Traore, who has joined on loan until the end of the season with a £30million option to buy, can operate at right wing back if Xavi chooses to change to a 3-5-2.

Meanwhile, Ansu Fati's long-term injury and Ousmane Dembele's contract stand-off with the club leaves Barca rather light in attack, explaining Torres and Aubameyang's inclusions.

Alves has spent a considerable amount of time with the Barcelona squad, having returned to the Nou Camp in November, five years after his first stint with the Catalan giants came to an end. However, he did not sign for the club until the LaLiga registration window opened on January 3.

Xavi has vowed to steer the Catalonians back to the summit of European football within the next year, and Alves's experience would surely have been welcomed given the Brazilian's reputation as one of football's most decorated players.

Elsewhere, Abde Ezzalzouli and Ferran Jutgla will be unable to play in Europe because they were not registered on the B list at the start of the preseason.