Antoine Griezmann is facing a race against time to be fit for Barcelona’s Champions League last-16 second-leg clash against Napoli at the Camp Nou on August 8.
Barcelona announced on Sunday that he suffered a quadriceps injury in Saturday’s La Liga win over Real Valladolid and is set for a spell on the sidelines.
“Tests this morning have shown that first-team player Antoine Griezmann has a muscle injury in the quadriceps of his right leg. He is therefore not available for selection at the present time and the evolution of the injury will condition his availability.”
Griezmann started the game at the Estadio Jose Zorilla but was forced off at half-time because of the problem and replaced by Luis Suarez.
The World Cup winner now looks certain to miss Barcelona’s final two La Liga games of the 2019-20 season. The Catalan giants play Osasuna at the Camp Nou on Thursday and then travel to Alaves on Sunday.
How Long Will Griezmann Be Out?
Javier Miguel at AS has reported that Griezmann’s injury will keep him out of action for a “minimum of three weeks,” meaning there is no guarantee he will be ready for the game against Napoli.
Manager Quique Setien will want to have his France international available for what is a crucial game. The winners of the tie will progress to the last eight of the tournament which will be played in Portugal.
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The two teams are currently tied at 1-1 after the first leg, with Griezmann’s away goal giving Barca the advantage. The winners of the fixture will play either Bayern Munich or Chelsea in the quarter-finals.
Barcelona are already without key midfielders Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal for the second leg against Napoli and will not want to lose another experienced member of the squad for such an important match.
Chance for Ansu Fati?
If Griezmann does not recover in time it could open up an opportunity for 17-year-old Ansu Fati to feature in attack alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez against Napoli.
Emergency signing Martin Braithwaite is ineligible for the match as he only arrived at the Camp Nou after the deadline for new player registrations.
The game also looks likely to come too soon for Ousmane Dembele, who was ruled out for six months in February after suffering a torn hamstring.
Fati has already impressed in Europe’s top competition this season. He became the tournament’s youngest goalscorer with a strike against Inter in December and has shown he has the talent to shine on the biggest stage.