Ousmane Dembele has emerged as the latest Barcelona player to suffer an injury in their increasingly damaging 1-0 loss to Atletico Madrid on Saturday night.
The French World Cup winner was making his ninth appearance of the season against Atletico – as many as he mustered in the entirety of the previous campaign. After a promising start from Dembele in particular, Barcelona conceded a calamitous goal on the cusp of half time which was enough for Atletico to earn all three points.
An hour into the defeat which condemned Barcelona to their worst La Liga start since the 1991/92 season, Gerard Pique was forced off with a knee injury before Sergi Roberto picked up a knock to his thigh in the closing stages. Barcelona confirmed that Roberto will be out for around two months but were much more vague regarding Pique’s recovery time.
Dembele played the full 90 minutes but may be joining his Spanish colleagues on the sidelines according to the Barcelona-based publication Mundo Deportivo. The report claims that Dembele sprained his shoulder after clashing with Atletico Madrid’s goalscorer, Yannick Carrasco, during the match. The club are yet to confirm the injury and it is not clear how long Dembele will be sidelined.
The 23-year-old’s time at Barcelona has been cruelly blighted by injuries since suffering the first major fitness concern of his senior career while attempting a backheel on his maiden La Liga start. However, Dembele has been fit for the entirety of the current campaign, scoring three goals and, perhaps more pertinently, appearing in nine of the club’s opening 11 games.
After rumours linking Dembele with a surprise loan move to Manchester United last summer, Barcelona are reportedly keen to tie the two-footed wide man to a new deal, though the initial suggestions hint this may be a move to protect their £136m investment more than a reflection of his importance to the side.
Pique, Roberto and potentially Dembele join Barcelona’s hugely talented teenager Ansu Fati in the treatment room as the 18-year-old is set to be sidelined for five months after suffering a knee injury against Real Madrid at the start of November.