Barcelona confirmed on Monday that Philippe Coutinho has undergone further knee surgery on a meniscal cyst in Brazil and remains out of action. The club has not offered a timeline of when the forward is expected to return.
The club confirmed a week ago that Coutinho had returned to his homeland “for medical treatment” on his knee injury. According to Daniel Mundim at Globo, Coutinho needed a “new arthroscopy” on his left knee in Belo Horizonte.
The 28-year-old initially underwent surgery in January and then had a further intervention in Qatar. He was subsequently diagnosed with a meniscal cyst that required a further operation.
Coutinho has not played for Barcelona since December because of his injury problems and it seems as though his 2020-21 campaign is now over as the Catalan giants have just nine La Liga games left to play.
The forward could still be fit in time for the Copa America in the summer. The tournament takes place in Argentina and Colombia and is scheduled to start on June 13.
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Is Coutinho’s Barcelona Career Over?
The news that Coutinho has required further surgery will be a blow to the Brazilian who started the season brightly for Ronald Koeman’s side after returning from a season-long loan with Bayern Munich.
Yet it now appears the former Liverpool man may have already played his last game for Barcelona. Speculation persists he will be moved on in the summer as the Catalan giants look to offload some players due to financial pressures.
Barcelona is said to consider Coutinho’s sale as urgent in order to slash the wage bill. The Brazilian is one of the team’s highest earners and only Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann earn more, according to Lluis Miguelsanz at Sport.
The report also notes that Barca still owes Coutinho’s former club Liverpool several installments and so would be willing to sell, even at a big loss, to provide significant short-term liquidity.
Barca will be keen for Coutinho to return to full fitness and feature at the Copa America for Brazil where some strong performances could draw interest from clubs and attract potential buyers.
Another Knee Problem For Barcelona
Coutinho may not be the only player recovering from knee surgery at Barcelona in the final weeks of the season. Young forward Ansu Fati, who has been out since November, may also go under the knife before the end of the 2020-21 campaign.
The 18-year-old has suffered several setbacks in his recovery from injury which may mean he needs another operation before he is able to successfully return to action, according to Javi Miguel at AS.
Fati has opened up on his injury problems recently with a post on Instagram. The young Spain international wrote about how he is living a “similar situation” to when he was forced out of the game for a year at the age of 13 with a double leg fracture.
The youngster looks as though he will join Coutinho in spending the rest of the season on the sidelines. However, unlike the Brazilian, he does appear to have a bright future at the Camp Nou and is expected to play a big role when he is finally back to full fitness.