Barcelona will be without striker Martin Braithwaite for Thursday’s La Liga clash against Getafe as the Denmark international has suffered an ankle injury and is set for a spell on the sidelines.
The Catalan giants confirmed the news in a statement on Thursday on the club’s official website.
“First team player Martin Braithwaite sprained his right ankle during Tuesday morning’s training session. He is therefore unavailable for selection and the evolution of the injury will condition his availability.”
According to Javier Miguel at AS, the 29-year-old will miss between 2-3 weeks due to the injury and half of Barca’s eight remaining La Liga fixtures. He should be fit to return in time for the potential title-decider against Atletico Madrid on May 8 at Camp Nou.
Braithwaite’s injury should not disrupt coach Ronald Koeman’s plans too much as the 29-year-old is more of a squad player than a first-team regular. However, the forward has played a role this season, scoring seven goals in all competitions for Barca.
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Braithwaite Talks Barcelona
Barcelona caused something of a stir when they brought in Braithwaite from Leganes on an emergency transfer for €18 million in February 2020. There were doubts over whether the forward had the quality to play for Barca but he picked up his first trophy with the club on Saturday.
The striker is clearly far from first choice at the Camp Nou but has won supporters over with his humility, enthusiasm, and desire. Braithwaite told CNN in a recent interview about how being at Barca brings out his best qualities.
“I think when you surround yourself with high-performance people, it only brings the best out of you,” he said. “I’ve been increasing my performances, jumping up another level. I’m looking at the small details of all the players around me, and it’s just amazing.”
Yet it’s possible this could be Braithwaite’s last season at the Camp Nou. The Dane is contracted to 2024 but could be deemed surplus to requirement with the club keen to offload fringe players and bring in a new attacker.
Griezmann or Dembele?
Koeman will have some big decisions to make in attack for Thursday’s crucial match as Barca return to action fresh from Saturday’s impressive Copa del Rey final win over Athletic.
The Catalan giants return to La Liga action in the knowledge they will be crowned champions if they win their final eight games of the season. Getafe should provide a stiff test, however, and held Real Madrid to a goalless draw on Sunday.
Koeman must decide whether to go with Antoine Griezmann or Ousmane Dembele in attack alongside captain Lionel Messi against Getafe. Dembele appears more suited to the 3-5-2 system but Griezmann started and scored in the Copa del Rey final.
Of course, Koeman could also tweak his formation to include both players in a three-man attack along with Messi. The Argentine was in superb form last time out, scoring twice in the 4-0 win to lift his first trophy as Barcelona captain.