Calf injury sidelines Mathieu at worst possible time for Barca

Madrid, Oct 27 (IANS) Spanish football giants FC Barcelona’s injury crisis worsened with the news that central defender Jeremy Mathieu will be out of action for around three weeks.

The 32-year-old was forced out of Barca’s 0-1 defeat to local rivals Espanyol in the final of the Catalan Cup on Tuesday with a calf injury, reports Xinhua news agency.

The club carried out tests on Wednesday and a statement on the Barca website confirmed that Mathieu has “injured the soleus on his right calf…. He will be out of action for an estimated three weeks.”

The French international’s injury could not have come at a worse time given that central defender Gerard Pique is also out of action until the middle of November after twisting his knee in last week’s win over Manchester City in the Champions League.

Left back Jordi Alba will also be sidelined for around a fortnight after suffering a hamstring injury in the same match.

Meanwhile, midfielder Andres Iniesta will not play again before the New Year after damaging knee ligaments following a heavy tackle by Valencia midfielder Enzo Perez in last Saturday’s 3-2 win at the Mestalla Stadium.

Mathieu’s injury means Barca coach Luis Enrique has just two central defenders, Samuel Umtiti and Javier Mascherano available for Saturday’s Liga game at home against bottom-placed Granada.

–IANS

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