Barcelona have been hit with bad news regarding Ansu Fati’s recovery from knee surgery ahead of the club’s Champions League last-16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain.
The Catalan giants had hoped the 18-year-old could return in time to face the French champions, but Fati has now been ruled out of the tie completely, according to Javier Miguel at AS.
Fati’s recovery is said to be “much slower and more complicated than expected,” and Barca are now wary of setting a return date for the teenager because it would only “feed the player’s anxiety and despair.”
Miguel reports that Fati’s knee “swells too easily” when workloads are increased which means the forward has to “reduce the intensity of the exercise.” Rather worryingly the report adds that further surgery to determine why the recovery is not going to plan has not been ruled out.
Fati’s last appearance for Barcelona came in November in the team’s 5-2 win over Real Betis. He subsequently went under the knife and was initially ruled out of action for four months.
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Barcelona’s Attacking Options For PSG
The absence of Fati means Barcelona are likely to go with an attack of Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, and Ousmane Dembele for the visit of the French champions on February 16.
The trio appear to have become coach Ronald Koeman’s favored combination and have been in good form so far in 2021. Messi is the team’s top scorer currently and has six goals in six games since the turn of the year.
Griezmann is also on a hot streak in front of goal and has also been racking up the assists for Barcelona in January.
Meanwhile, Dembele is enjoying plenty of game time in 2020-21 after returning to full fitness. The Frenchman has reserved his best form for the Champions League this season and has three goals and two assists in his four matches in Europe’s top competition.
PSG Under Pochettino
PSG will head to the Camp Nou under new management after Mauricio Pochettino replaced Thomas Tuchel following his dismissal as coach in December.
The Argentine played for the French club during his career and took Premier League side Tottenham to the final of the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history in his previous coaching role.
Yet Pochettino and PSG are not having it all their own way in Ligue 1. The defending champions suffered a shock 3-2 home defeat to Lorient on Sunday, the team’s first defeat under their new coach.
PSG now lie in third place in the table behind Lyon and leaders Lille and have now been beaten five times already in the league.
The French side also suffered defeats to Manchester United and RB Leipzig in the group stages of the Champions League before going on to top Group H and set up a tie with Barcelona.
Yet Barca will know they face a tough test against a team that were beaten finalists last season. The tie also sees Neymar come up against his former team for the first time since his controversial departure in 2017.