Memphis Depay’s fitness has been a point of contention in the Barcelona camp for a few months now, with many inside the camp reportedly certain that the forward had slowed down his recovery in order to stay fit for the Netherlands in the World Cup.
However, a little more than a month into the World Cup, it appears Depay is yet to get back to full fitness. Although the attacker did make his return to the pitch in the Netherlands’ opening game against Senegal, he only played as a substitute.
Even in the following game against Ecuador, the Barcelona frontman was an option from the bench, even though he was brought in at half-time.
In a recent pressure, Dutch coach Louis van Gaal has confirmed that he will not take any risks with Depay, as far as his fitness is concerned. The coach is aware of the player’s lack of fitness and concedes that he does need to fully recover.
“We will not take any risks with Depay, because we know if we want to win the World Cup we need Memphis,” said van Gaal (h/t Reuters), hinting that the Barcelona forward could feature in the latter stages of the tournament.
Depay, after all, is one of the most experienced attackers in the Netherlands camp. His skill and experience at the highest level of football could go a long way in helping the Oranje restore their lost glory in the competition.
The attacker’s return to fitness could benefit Barcelona as well, as the Catalans are keen on offloading him in the upcoming January transfer window. With Depay’s contract at Camp Nou expiring at the end of the season, the club want to reduce their wage budget by getting rid of him during mid-season.