dani alves
Alves will miss the trip to Rayo due to suspension.Getty

Luis Enrique has once again excluded the out-of-favour quarter of Marc Bartra, Sandro Ramirez, Douglas and Jordi Masip from Barcelona's 18-man squad to face Rayo Vallecano on 3 March, amid speculations linking Bartra with a summer move away from the Nou Camp. Long-term absentee Rafinha Alcantara and the suspended Dani Alves will also miss the game, but the boss will have Sergio Busquets and Sergio Roberto available despite doubts over their fitness earlier in the week.

The Champions League winners visit the 16th-placed La Liga team in search of a victory to restore their eight-point lead over Atletico Madrid following Diego Simeone's side's comfortable win over Real Sociedad on Tuesday. Barcelona will also be looking to break a new record for Spanish football by going 35 games undefeated in all competitions, after their 2-1 victory over Sevilla at the weekend saw them equal the previous record set by Real Madrid in the 1988/99 campaign.

Busquets and Sergi Roberto both started the win over Sevilla but were deemed potential absentees for the Rayo game after missing Monday's training session. However, the pair returned to workouts on Tuesday – despite the rest of the squad having a day off – and they also trained with the group on Wednesday.

With Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar all in the travelling squad, Alves is the most noticable absence in the Barca squad. The Brazil international collected his fifth yellow card of the season against Sevilla.

Bartra does not make the squad yet again, after falling out of favour with the club hierarchy. Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano, Jeremy Mathieu and Thomas Vermalen are all ahead of him in the pecking order, leading to suggestions he will leave the club in the summer.

Barcelona 18-man squad to face Rayo Vallecano:

Marc Andre Ter Stegen, Claudio Bravo, Gerard Pique, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Arda Turan, Andres Iniesta, Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Javier Mascherano, Munir, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, Adriano, Aleix Vidal, Thomas Vermaelen and Jeremy Mathieu.

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