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Barcelona hand debuts to Lewandowski, Raphinha and Christensen in LaLiga opener

Robert Lewandowski celebrates a goal for Barcelona in the Gamper Trophy against Pumas at Camp Nou.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Barcelona have handed competitive debuts to Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Andreas Christensen in a new-look XI for their LaLiga opener at home to Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.

All three players joined Barcelona this summer, along with midfielder Franck Kessie and defender Jules Kounde, but there was uncertainty surrounding their availability for the league's kick-off.

Barça have been working hard to balance their books and raise additional funds in order to meet LaLiga's strict FFP-style regulations on spending - and the Catalans were not able to register the new players for the league competition until Friday.

The Catalan club announced the activation of another 'financial lever' on Friday, through the sale of an additional 25% stake of their in-house production company, and that meant the new players and recent renewals - all except for one - could be registered.

Lewandowski and Raphinha, Kessie, Christensen were all registered, along with Ousmane Dembele and Sergi Roberto, with the latter pair having extended their contracts this summer.

Defender Jules Kounde, who was signed from Sevilla but is still not fully fit after an injury, will have to wait a little longer to be registered and is not part of the squad for Saturday's game.

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Lewandowski, Raphinha and Dembele all start in an exciting front three for Barça, with Christensen included at the back.

Kessie, meanwhile, starts on the bench. Ansu Fati, Gerard Pique, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ferran Torres and Frenkie de Jong are also among the substitutes for Xavi at the beginning of bis first full season as coach.

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Weekend editor

Ben Hayward is Weekend Editor for FourFourTwo. A European football writer with over 15 years’ experience, he has covered games all over the world - including three World Cups, several Champions League finals, Euros, Copa América - and has spent much of that time in Spain. He currently divides his time between Barcelona and London.