BARCELONA

Barcelona's medical staff forecast a surge in injuries when football resumes

Being optimistic, Barca's medical services are expecting “5-10 injuries” in the first week when competition returns - especially hamstring and joint injuries.

Barcelona's medical staff forecast a surge in injuries when football resumes
RODOLFO MOLINA DIARIO AS

An internal memo distributed by FC Barcelona Medical Services underlines the huge concern for players' health which they expect will be affected when official competition eventually resumes. After almost two months of not being able to train as normal with the group, players will be more susceptible to injuries.

Hamstrings and joints at risk

In the most optimistic of scenarios, Barça's medical staff forecast between five and 10 injuries in the squad during the first week when football returns. There are several reasons for that - fitness levels will be low after almost two months of self-isolation, players will have missed the intensity of daily training sessions and so it is inevitable that their rhythm will have dropped; nor have there been any practice matches or friendly games to keep players match-fit. Then there are the new circumstances which the players and medical teams will have to deal with - less recovery time between games to ensure players get over muscle fatigue as teams will be playing every 72 hours; higher than normal temperatures as matches will be played in the height of summer which is particularly draining with attention required to avoid dehydration and then there is the mental side - the psychological toll of having to play the decisive parts of LaLiga and the Champions League in little over two months.

Barcelona's medical services also highlight the need for training drills which will help to prevent injuries to areas which are more susceptible to injuries after a long lay-off such as hamstrings and joints. Initial training sessions will be geared towards minimising risks with a specific training plan for players who have a history of injury problems in those areas. Fitness trainer Antonio Gómez will supervise strength-building drills with the squad in the gym to complement their work on the training pitch.

It also must be noted that Quique Setién has one of the smallest squads in LaLiga, with just 19 players which leave little margin if players fall injured - particularly if the team is playing twice a week.

Barcelona's injury problems this season

In August and September of this season, Barcelona suffered a total of 10 injuries in the first month of competition - in August: Messi (calf), Neto (fractured scaphoid bone), Luis Suárez (calf), Dembélé (hamstring) and Junior (ligament); then in September: Umtiti (foot), Jordi Alba (hamstring), Messi (calf), Ansu Fati (patellar tendon), Dembélé (hamstring). The club won't have forgotten that Leo was injured in the first training session of the season.

In total, 12 members of the first team squad have had problems of lesser or greater magnitude with hamstrings or joints - Dembélé and Luis Suárez both required surgery. Only two Barcelona players have managed to avoid injury all season - and both were new signings: Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann.