Barcelona head coach Xavi has apologised to Dani Alves for omitting the Brazilian from his squad for the Europa League knockout stages.
Xavi had to leave out one of his four January signings as UEFA regulations state that “from the knockout round play-offs, a club may register a maximum of three new eligible players for the remaining matches in the current competition”.
Barcelona dropped into the Europa League after finishing third in their Champions League group.
That meant either Ferran Torres, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Adama Traore or Alves would have to miss Barcelona’s Europa League fixtures until the end of the season.
Xavi, speaking ahead of the first leg of Barcelona’s knockout round play-off against Napoli, explained: “I already said that I had been unfair to Dani and made the decision more for position than for any performance-related issue.”
Alves, 38, stated earlier this month that he understood the decision and is happy to help the club whenever called upon.
Alves has featured five times since returning to the club in January despite having to compete with Sergino Dest, Oscar Mingueza and Sergi Roberto for the right-back berth. He has three assists and one goal to his name.