Depleted Barça squad sees pressure mount on isolated Messi

Ousmane Dembélé spent time over Christmas in Qatar but it may have been time wasted with the player's latest setback yesterday now signalling surgery to deal with his latest muscular problem, this lad really does have bad luck. Our resident medic, Dr. González has stated on countless times that pacey players are more susceptible to muscle tears and this would appear to be the case with the constant issues that befall the likes of Dembélé and Bale, both players who have been sidelined with muscular issues of a varying nature. In the case of the Welshman, his comebacks are rather speedy but they take on a different dimension with his apparent indifference and will never force the issue. His unflappable agent Jonathan Barnett claims that his client his happy and why should't he be: another Real Madrid foot soldier living in a city with a climate ideal for playing golf.

French forward Ousmane Dembele

Barça's depleted squad

Dembélé's situation is quite different however. His career seems to have been truncated just as he should be taking off. Mbappé sent his fellow countryman his best wishes and it's difficult to imagine what's going through the mind of this young athlete. I've dealt with so many players over the years and realise that their happiness and good state of mind stems from their legs being healthy and in optimum condition. The knock-on effect of Dembélé's injury impacts directly on the FC Barcelona squad, a squad already somewhat depleted with no-one able to explain as why this is the case. At the start of the season, Rafinha moved to Celta with an apparent over-booking problem in the central of the park. The recent departures of Wague, Todibo, Aleñá and Carles Pérez really have left the squad looking very thin on key personnel.

LIONEL MESSI

Messi-dependence

At present the Catalan side have a squad of 17 professional players but 18 if Ansu Fati is to be included with the teenager still being registered principally as a 'B' team player. Two of these, Dembélé and Luis Suárez are ruled out long-term through injury and really leave the attacking threat looking somewhat threadbare. This situation, coupled with the regular problems that participation in three key competitions involves, will see the depleted squad stretched to extreme limits. Meanwhile, everyone looks to Messi to resolve issues on the pitch like a modern day Mandrake the Magician but there is only so much the Argentine can do without a complete squad to offer him support. With the Rosario born player's lofty salary, the Catalan club are somewhat hamstrung and even paying him off would be out of the question economically.