BARCELONA

Barcelona: Ansu, Nico and García injuries give Xavi a tricky start

The international break has come at a perfect time for Barcelona with 11 first-team players injured after Ansu, Nico and Eric García limped off in Vigo.

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New Barcelona boss Xavi dealt blow as Fati pulls up with apparent hamstring injury

Xavi's Barcelona tenure has not yet officially started, but the Blaugrana's new coach will have to cope with a lengthy injury list when he takes over. Against Celta on Saturday, Ansu Fati - who picked up an apparent hamstring injury - Eric García and Nico all failed to make it past half time, taking Barça's first-team injury tally into double figures. 

Barça confirmed on Saturday that legendary midfielder Xavi had returned to take over as Ronald Koeman's replacement.

Xavi, whose contract with Qatar Stars League team Al Sadd was terminated on Friday, will be officially presented on Monday and his first game in charge will be a derby against Espanyol.

However, he seems set to be without youngster Fati, who was forced off just before half-time against Celta Vigo on Saturday, having pulled up clutching his left thigh.

Ansu injury a blow for Barcelona and Spain

Fati had been enjoying a brilliant game, putting Barca ahead early on with a fantastic finish from a tight angle. Sergio Busquets and Memphis Depay subsequently scored to make it 3-0 at the time of the winger's injury. After the break though, in the absence of Nico, García and Fati, Celta pulled off an astonishing comeback to make it 3-3 at the final whistle. 

The teenager only returned to action in September, having endured a long injury lay off due to a serious knee problem that kept him out for the majority of the 2020-21 campaign.

His goal at Celta was his third in LaLiga this season, from just his fifth appearance in the competition, while he has also scored once from three Champions League games.

Fati's injury will also present a blow to Spain coach and former Barca boss Luis Enrique, who had named the forward in his squad for crucial World Cup qualifiers against Greece and Sweden over the next two weeks.