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LALIGA SANTANDER

Barcelona midfielder Pedri ruled out of LaLiga game against Athletic Club due to injury

Barça are not willing to risk rushing Pedri back into action with El Clásico against Real Madrid just around the corner.

Update:
Barça are not willing to risk rushing Pedri back into action with El Clásico against Real Madrid just around the corner.
JOSEP LAGOAFP

As has been previously reported by AS, Barcelona had been hopeful of being able to call upon star midfield man Pedri for Sunday’s LaLiga game against Athletic Club at San Mamés. “It’ll be difficult but not impossible”, was the message coming out of the Barça treatment room on Monday. However, as the week has gone on, the chances of the youngster featuring in Bilbao have faded. Club doctors have deemed that rushing his return after a three-week absence would be too much of a risk, with the thigh injury he suffered in the first leg of the Europa League round of 16 tie against Manchester United normally needing a four-week recovery period.

Dembélé and Araújo key absentees, Lewandowski and Gavi return

Xavi’s dream of having Pedri available to face Athletic will remain just that. As well as being without the ex-Las Palmas starlet, the Barcelona boss will also be without other key players: winger Ousmane Dembélé, also injured, and defender Ronald Araújo, who is banned after being sent off against Valencia. The good news is that top scorer Robert Lewandowski and teenage midfielder Gavi are back in contention to play in the Basque Country after injury and suspension respectively.

Pedri focused on El Clásico

With Pedri now a confirmed absentee, the focus now turns to ensuring that he is available for El Clásico against Real Madrid on Sunday 19 March. A match which Dembélé will be not be involved in. The French winger is set for at least another couple of weeks out of action, with his recovery from a thigh injury being treated with extreme caution. By the time he returns, he will have spent more than eight weeks out. Even though his injury was very similar to the one suffered by Pedri, Dembélé's lengthier absence can be explained by the fact that one of his tendons was also affected.