Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman offered a gloomy update on injured duo Ansu Fati and Philippe Coutinho who remain sidelined after undergoing knee surgery.
Both players have suffered setbacks since undergoing surgery and Koeman provided an update on the two attackers on Saturday at a pre-match press conference ahead of Barcelona’s La Liga clash with Villarreal at the Camp Nou.
“Ansu and Coutinho have been absent for longer than we thought,” he explained. “I don’t know if they will be able to play a game before the end of the season.”
Barca has just seven La Liga games left to play in 2020-21, starting with Sunday’s trip to Villarreal.
Fati has been out since November, while Coutinho went under the knife in January and has subsequently returned to Brazil for further surgery. There is still no clear idea of when either player is expected back.
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Fati Sets New Deadline
There are genuine fears that Fati may also require another operation after seeing his recovery stall. According to Mundo Deportivo, the teenager will wait until May 2 to take a decision on whether to go under the knife again.
The report also focuses on how Barcelona is keen to extend Fati’s contract at the club for another five seasons. His current deal expires in 2022, but has the option for two more years, but Barca wants Fati signed up until 2026.
The youngster burst onto the scene last season after forcing his way into the first-team as a 16-year-old and was in great form again 2020-21 before injury interrupted his progress.
Despite having to endure a lengthy spell on the sidelines there’s no doubt that Fati is one of the most exciting young attackers in Europe and part of a raft of highly talented youngsters in and around the first-team at Barcelona presently.
Coutinho Sends Message From Brazil
However, Coutinho has not managed to have the same impact at Barcelona as Fati and may have already played his last game for the club. The Brazilian has not by missed by the team seen being forced out through injury and speculation continues that he could be sold.
Premier League side Everton is the latest club to be linked with the 28-year-old, although it remains to be seen if the forward would be interested in a move to Goodison Park given his history with fierce rivals Liverpool.
Coutinho recently offered an update on his progress with an emotional post on Instagram. The Barca star admitted it’s been a long and slow recovery from knee surgery.
The caption reads, “Every day is a new battle, demanding my best! Recovery is slow, requires patience and dedication. Challenges always motivate me. I am working hard and I am convinced that I will return to the best of my ability doing what I love the most. GOD is with me and I am sure those who love me and my work are too! Thanks for all the positivity sent.”
It seems likely that Coutinho may also be forced to miss the Copa America with Brazil this summer because of his knee issues. Brazil national team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar told Globo Esporte he does not think the attacker will be ready in time for the tournament that kicks off in June.