FC Barcelona have received a huge injury blow which could affect Xavi Hernandez’s first XI planning for El Clasico against Real Madrid on October 28, AS reported.
Barca knocked their bitter rivals off the top of the La Liga table on Saturday through a spirited 3-2 comeback win over Celta Vigo.
Trailing 2-0 down at one point, they did not pull off the remontada with the help of midfielder Frenkie de Jong, however, with the Dutchman hauled off in the first half.
The sight of the reliable Dutchman strutting off the field in the 36th minute caused Culers who knew something must be off to mutter to one another around the Montjuic Stadium.
De Jong was replaced by Gavi, who provided the assist for Joao Cancelo’s 89th minute winner with a superb cross into the box.
After the dust had settled on the win, though, AS reported the bad news that De Jong suffered a knock to his right ankle that might keep him out for some time.
Tests carried out have reportedly led to conclusions De Jong could be out for five to seven weeks, with the club confirming the knock but as usual not adding a recovery timeframe.
This eliminates his participation in upcoming matches against Sevilla, Mallorca, Porto and Granada before the international break, but De Jong could also miss two key matches following the return of club football.
These are namely meetings with Athletic Club on October 22 and, more importantly, a showdown in El Clasico with Madrid that could have an impact on where the La Liga title ends up at the end of the season.
Also likely to be unable to call on an injured Pedri, Xavi has receiced a hammer blow by also losing De Jong.
Though he was surplus to requirements 15 months ago and almost sold to Manchester United before refusing to move, the 26-year-old has since become an indispensable part of the Blaugeana midfield.
Working excellently alongside pivot Romeu, De Jong is also an important link to attacking midfielder Ilkay Gundogan.
In lieu of both Pedri and De Jong, Xavi is likely to field a 4-3-3 with two pure widemen plus Romeu, Gundogan and Gavi as his center of the park trio.