There is no doubt that FC Barcelona have an injury crisis on their hands, especially in terms of the defence, Luis Enrique was already having to cope without the Spanish international left back and centre back Jordi Alba and Gerard Pique and the problem got worse this week after the French star Jeremy Matthieu joined them on the sidelines after picking up a foot problem in the Catalonian Super Cup win over Espanyol on Tuesday, as reported by Sky Sports.
FC Barcelona have enough problems on their hands without having to deal with Cristiano Ronaldo, so Tata Martino and his players will have received the injury update from Carlo Ancelotti with open arms. Ronaldo is still out of action with what is being reported as tendonitis or a muscular problem in the thigh.
Andres Iniesta and other Barcelona players have refused, publicly at least, to accept that Real Madrid will be significantly weakened by this, as they have the likes of Isco, Di Mari and Morata who could take his place, but they must be pretty glad of the news really.
Barca’s Injury Woes Intensify
Barcelona have revealed that they could be without Xavi and Cristian Tello as well as Lionel Messi for the game against Granada.
Tests have shown that playmaker, Xavi, has picked up a hamstring muscle strain while winger, Tello, suffered ankle ligament damage in training.
The current La Liga leaders are already without World Player of the Year, Messi, who was ruled out for up to eight weeks after tearing a leg muscle in the recent 4-1 victory at Real Betis.
The long awaited return if the Barcelona club captain Carles Puyol is great news, but I am slightly concerned that he is going to be thrown back into action with a fairly unfamiliar back four. The 35-year old centre back has not played with the Barcelona first team for a massive 247 days, so it would be no surprise if he was a bit rusty and took some time to get back into the swing of things.
Barcelona will be trying for a new club record of nine straight wins at the start of a La Liga season tomorrow, when the team travel to Pamplona to take on Osasuna. It is pretty amazing what Tata Martino has done since taking over from Tito Vilanova in the summer, because inlike Tito, he did not come through the ranks at the Nou Camp, and did not even know much about Spanish football.
The Barcelona manager Tata Martino declared himself happy with what he had got as the summer transfer window drew to a close, despite fans and media alike wondering why in earth one of the biggest clubs in the world had failed to sign a centre back, when it seemed blatantly clear they needed one.
Well I don’t know if it was a piece of man-management genius or simply his true belief, but the young Spanish defender Marc Bartra seems to have responded to the confidence vote in his ability. The 22-year old has been thrown into the fray due to the injury picked up by Mascherano. That again was a vote of confidence by Martino, because in the past Barcelona have used Adriano and Song when desperate.
It was almost a year ago, when Barcelona were playing away to Benfica in the Champions League, that Carles Puyol was defending a corner and landed awkwardly, dislocating his elbow in one of those moments where it almost hurts to look. The fact that Puyol was making his comeback in that game just about sums up his luck last season. He only managed 13 La Liga games and ended the season with an operation to his knee.
Every man and his dog seemed to know that FC Barcelona needed to sign a central defender this summer, and for most of the transfer window they were linked to a number of players. It seemed like it was just a matter of time before a new defender arrived at the Nou Camp, but the window closed last night and left Neymar as the only incoming transfer.
That decision looks even worse today, because the Spanish newspaper As is reporting that club captain and Spain international centre back Carles Puyol will not be back from injury as soon as expected. Tata Martino was hoping that he could call on the 35-year old straight after the international break, but he will be at least another couple of weeks.