Barcelona’s Star Duo De Jong and Pedri Suffer Devastating Injuries in Clash Against Athletic Club

Barcelona faces an injury crisis in midfield after both Frenkie de Jong and pedri They were forced to bow out in the first half of Sunday's LaLiga draw against Athletic Club in San Mamés.

De Jong was stretchered off in the 26th minute after landing awkwardly on his ankle. The Netherlands international spent two months on the sidelines earlier this season with a sprained ankle.

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Pedri, for his part, came off just before the break with his third muscle injury of the campaign. A hamstring problem ruled him out for two months in August and he missed three weeks earlier in the year with another muscle problem.

Both players will undergo scans on Monday, but Barça coach Xavi Hernández says it doesn't look like food for either of them.

“The injuries affected the team because Frenkie and Pedri are two important players for how we want to play,” said Xavi in ​​his post-match press conference.

“Pedri is getting back to being well [after his last injury], trained very well this week. She is a disgrace. Frenkie too. He is very involved in our game. They are two big losses.

“It doesn't look good. We miss them today and we are going to miss them. Hopefully it will be for less time than expected.”

The match against Athletic ended in a 0-0 draw, leaving Barça right where they started the day: in third place with 58 points, eight behind LaLiga leader Real Madrid.

“It was a big wasted opportunity,” added Xavi as Barca missed the chance to close the gap on Madrid, who were tied with Valencia on Saturday, and move up to second place ahead of Girona, who lost to Mallorca on Sunday.

“We didn't play well. Maybe the first 15 minutes were good, but the rest wasn't. We can't be satisfied. We have to be self-critical. We should have taken a step forward.

“It's true that it's a difficult place to get to, but we're disappointed because it wasn't how we wanted to play. Maybe the only positive thing is how we defended.”

However, the big negative was the absence of De Jong and Pedri ahead of key matches in both LaLiga and the Champions League before the international break at the end of March.

Barça is now left without a midfielder gaviwho was ruled out for the season in November after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament while playing for Spain.

Xavi used the center Andreas Christensen and the young Fermín López alongside Ilkay Gündogan after losing De Jong and Pedri in Bilbao.

Oriol Romeu It is another option to play in the middle of the park, since Barça will play the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 against Napoli on March 12 at the Olympic Stadium. The first leg in Italy ended 1-1.

Before that game, Barça will host Mallorca in LaLiga on Friday and then travel to Atlético Madrid, one of the four main rivals, on March 17.

In addition to De Jong, Pedri and Gavi, Barça is also left without left backs Alejandro Balde and Marcos Alonso and forward Ferran Torres due to injuries.

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