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No chance for Napoli second leg: De Jong and Pedri receive diagnoses

Not only did FC Barcelona lose two points in Bilbao, the Catalans also traveled back from the Basque Country with two problem children. Frenkie de Jong and Pedri received their respective diagnoses on Monday

Before the La Liga match against Barcelona, parts of the Bilbao supporters had been harshly criticized by their opponents for their misconduct in the Copa home game against Atletico (3-0 and a place in the final). On Sunday evening, however, the crowd at the San Mames proved to have a keen sense of humor: Frenkie de Jong and Pedri, who were substituted in the first half due to injury, received standing ovations.

De Jong had twisted his ankle badly in midfield and looked desperate as he was carried off the pitch. Pedri took it in the muscles after a pass. The Spain international was able to leave the pitch on his own two feet, but the tears on his face already suggested that it could be a more serious injury again

Xavi speaks of a “sad day “

On Monday, Barcelona published the diagnoses: de Jong has a severe sprain of the collateral ligament in his right ankle, while Pedri has once again damaged the muscles in his right thigh. Pedri’s reaction may also be explained by the fact that the midfield jewel has been constantly plagued by injuries since his exhausting summer of 2021 with the European Championship and the Olympics. This is his third injury of the 2023/24 season alone.

Xavi spoke of a “sad day” after the clean sheet in Bilbao because two “very important players” were injured. His team’s play was certainly affected by the absences. Barcelona’s head coach has already predicted a forced break for “several games”.

In both cases, the Spanish press are predicting a forced break of several weeks, with Pedri likely to be a little worse off. It is unlikely that the duo will be able to play again in next Tuesday’s Champions League round of 16 second leg against Napoli (first leg 1-1). The subsequent league clash with Atletico Madrid (March 17) also seems unrealistic.

Both are probably aiming for a return after the international matches at the end of March – de Jong’s injury is therefore likely to cost him a clash with the German national team (March 26). Pedri should return to the pitch in the final sprint of the season at the latest, also in order to be fit for the European Championship in Germany.

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