Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has offered an update on Ansu Fati’s recovery and has warned supporters not to get too carried away as the youngster closes in on a return to action.
Fati returned to first-team training this week and has looked in good shape at the Ciutat Esportiva, leading to excitement that the teenager could be set to make his first appearance for the club since November 2020 shortly.
However, Koeman has called for calm when it comes to the Barcelona starlet and has played down reports that Fati could be back in action after the international break when the Catalan giants take on Sevilla, as reported by Diario Sport.
“Don’t get carried away with these images of him training. He’s still a long way away from competing at the top level. We’re talking about eight months out of action. You don’t return after two to three weeks of training,” he said. “I don’t want to name a date, but I saw Sevilla (Sept. 11) in the press. Forget that game. He will not be there. He needs more training, more strength, more fitness… because we want him for a long time. Won’t take any risks with Ansu in that sense.”
It’s not clear exactly when Fati will be finally ready to return to first-team action, but there’s no doubt it will be a huge boost for the club when the talented teenager does finally get back out on the pitch.
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Barcelona’s Injury Problems Easing
Barcelona may still be waiting on Fati but will be able to welcome Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Philippe Coutinho, and Oscar Mingueza back from injury for Sunday’s match against Getafe.
All three players have yet to feature so far in the new 2021-22 campaign due to injury but have been named in Koeman’s squad for Sunday’s La Liga fixture at the Camp Nou.
Ter Stegen will be hoping to go straight back into the starting XI and take over from Neto who has featured in both of Barcelona’s games against Athletic and Real Sociedad.
Mingueza’s return will also be welcomed, particularly as Koeman is without center-backs Eric Garcia and Gerard Pique against Getafe. Garcia has been handed a one-match ban after a red card last time out against Athletic, while Pique is absent with a calf injury.
Coutinho To Take Messi’s No. 10?
Koeman could also call upon Coutinho for the first time in 2021. The Brazilian has been out with a knee injury that required a second operation in April. The Barcelona boss will have to make changes to his midfield on Sunday as Pedri is missing after being rested.
There has been speculation that Coutinho could wear Lionel Messi’s No. 10 shirt if he does feature. The 29-year-old wears the No. 10 for Brazil and his Barcelona squad number for the new campaign has not yet been confirmed.
Koeman was asked about the possibility of Coutinho taking over the iconic number but was giving little away. He said only, “I don’t know. That’s something for the club.”
Yet the issue of who will take over Messi’s shirt could finally be resolved on Sunday when Koeman names his team for the match.