La Liga leaders Barcelona have been dealt a double blow on the personnel front, ahead of the club’s highly-anticipated upcoming pair of meetings with Real Madrid.
For those not aware, Spanish football’s two biggest clubs are set to renew rivalries not once, but twice over the course of the coming three weeks.
First, this coming Sunday, the Blaugrana will welcome Real to Catalunya, hopeful of not only maintaining, but potentially extending their hefty nine-point advantage at the La Liga summit.
Such hopes, meanwhile, looked set to be in line for a boost, by way of the return to fitness of a key member of Xavi Hernandez’s squad.
As confirmed by a host of sources across the week to date, after returning to training on the back of a spell on the sidelines with a thigh injury, midfielder Pedri was in contention to take his place back in Barca’s engine room from the off on Sunday evening.
In turn, it will no doubt come as a major blow, on Friday, to hear that this will in fact not prove to be the case.
Instead, according to several reliable sources across the Spanish media, Pedri today suffered a fresh setback.
Not only is the Spanish international therefore in line to sit out on Sunday, but international duty with La Roja, too, as well as, potentially, an upcoming Copa del Rey showdown with Real Madrid on April 5th.
Pedri, though, looks unlikely to be the only headline member of Xavi’s squad set to be unavailable for selection for one, or potentially both upcoming Clasico outings.
The other? Ousmane Dembele.
Wide-man Dembele, of course, has not taken to the pitch since all the way back in January, owing to a thigh problem of his own.
The former Borussia Dortmund standout, though, had long been tipped to ramp up his recovery over the course of the international break, with a view to being available to face Real early next month.
The latest word stemming from Barcelona’s training ground, however, points towards Dembele, too, suffering a setback.
In turn, he is now also a major doubt for the 2nd fixture of the upcoming Clasico double-header at the Camp Nou.