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SOCCER

Barcelona face Celta, Inter and Real Madrid in the next 10 days with a long injury list

Xavi only has two central defenders available for the upcoming games after Christensen was forced off against Inter.

Update:
MILAN, ITALY - OCTOBER 04: Andreas Christensen of FC Barcelona lies injured on the pitch during the UEFA Champions League group C match between FC Internazionale and FC Barcelona at San Siro Stadium on October 04, 2022 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport ImagesGetty

On Tuesday night, Barcelona suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Inter Milan in the Champions League group stages. Centre-back Andreas Christensen came off injured in the Group C clash and is not expected to return to club football until after the 2022 World Cup.

Xavi went into the tie without defenders Ronald Araújo, Jules Koundé and Héctor Bellerín due to their respective injuries. Christensen is the latest defender to pick up an injury and at the time of writing, Xavi only has two central defenders available for the upcoming games: Eric Garcia and Gerard Piqué.

The Blaugrana were unable to turn take their fine domestic form into Europe and were defeated by the Serie A side, which sees Barça sit in third in Group C and needing to beat Inter in the reverse fixture between the sides next week.

Kessié the latest victim

Franck Kessié has been ruled out of Barcelona’s match against Celta Vigo on Sunday. The former AC Milan midfielder Kessié picked up the thigh injury during the team’s post-match training session held on Wednesday at the Ciutat Esportiva de Sant Joan Despí to add to Xavi’s woes. Kessié has played eight times for Barcelona since joining on a free from Milan but only three of those outings have come as a starter.

AS understands that Kessié will be ruled out for between seven to 10 days, and will therefore not make an appearance against Celta this weekend. Frenkie de Jong, who missed the defeat at San Siro, will be fit to slot back into Barcelona’s midfield having since returned to training. De Jong can also play as a centre-back if needed.

So Barcelona head into their next three games with defensive concerns and may need to rely on Robert Lewandowski to get them out of jail. The Polish forward, who was quiet against Inter, has been in outstanding form since joining from Bayern Munich.

Barcelona will be looking to extend their unbeaten run in LaLiga to eight when they host Celta on Sunday. The Catalan giants have scored 19 and only conceded once in the league so far. García impressed against Inter and will likely start in the centre of defence with Piqué against the Galician side at Camp Nou.

El Clásico

On 12 October, it’s Inter again and on 16 October, it’s the big one: Real Madrid in El Clásico. Xavi will be hoping to have more of his first-team squad available for selection by the time the mouthwatering clash in the Spanish capital comes around.

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