Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has offered an update on key attacker Ousmane Dembele after seeing the forward forced off with injury in the first half of Saturday’s 1-0 win over Girona.
Dembele’s Barcelona career has been plagued by injury problems, but the France international has managed to put his fitness issues behind him since Xavi took charge of the club.
The forward has become a key player for Barcelona this season, but Xavi told reporters after the match that he expects he will have to make do without the France international for a little while, as reported by Marca.
“There’s an injury. I think there’s an injury. It’s a shame because he’s a differential player,” he said. “He’s noticed something, so surely there’s an injury. He’s noticed a quadriceps injury.”
Dembele has made 27 appearances in all competitions so far for Barcelona, racking up 6 goals and 7 assists. The forward will now undergo tests to determine the severity of the problem.
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Which Games Could Dembele Miss?
The early indications are that Dembele could miss the next three weeks of action, according to Cope’s Helena Condis. Such a timescale would make Dembele a doubt for the first leg of Barcelona’s Europa League play-off against Manchester United.
The Frenchman would also be forced onto the sidelines for La Liga games against Real Betis, Sevilla and Villarreal. Dembele would also miss the first leg of Barcelona’s Copa del Rey semi-final. The draw is due to be made on Monday, January 30.
Barcelona are due to welcome Manchester United to the Camp Nou on February 16. The winners of the tie will progress to the last 16 of Europe’s second-tier competition.
The Red Devils will head to Barcelona in good form after enjoying a revival under new manager Erik ten Hag. United are currently in fourth place in the Premier League and into the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup.
Barcelona Boosted By Duo’s Return
Dembele’s injury is undoubtedly bad news for Barcelona, but the Catalans will be boosted by the return to action of forwards Robert Lewandowski and Ferran Torres after the win over Girona.
The duo have been out due to suspension but will be available for Barcelona’s next league match against Real Betis. Lewandowski’s return will be warmly welcomed as he is the division’s top scorer with 13 goals from 15 games.
Torres has struggled for form in 2022-23 but has been heavily backed by manager Xavi, who insists that the Spain international simply needs a goal to restore his self-belief and confidence.
The former Manchester City man is clearly enduring a difficult time, and hasn’t scored for Barcelona since November, but is another option in attack along with Raphinha and Ansu Fati while Dembele is on the sidelines.