Barcelona were delighted to secure a 1-0 victory over Valencia in the final minutes of the match via Robert Lewandowski. The Blaugrana were by no means vintage and once again injuries hurt them.
During the game, both Eric Garcia and Jules Kounde pulled up with injuries. With just three weeks remaining until the World Cup. Every injury brings with it a sharp intake of breath currently as a result.
"You have to find a way"
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 30, 2022
Speaking after the match to Diario AS, Kounde explained that he did not think it was serious. He came off with around 20 minutes to go, being replaced by Gerard Pique.
“I have a [muscle] overload. Let’s see but I don’t think it’s anything serious. You have to try to do your best to take care of yourself physically. There are too many games but we are not the ones in charge. I think they should think more about the players.”
His manager Xavi was also asked about both Kounde’s issue and that of Garcia.
“It’s natural. Jules Koundé has made a tremendous effort, we have pushed him and it is normal. We have been changing him. It seems that it is not an injury, it is rather strong discomfort.”
“And it seems that Eric is not an injury either. It’s discomfort that has been dragging on for a long time. They want to force the issue, they want to play even though there is a World Cup. And their commitment is maximal.”
The concerns about the fitness of stars has been an area of debate of late with the World Cup coming in November.
More generally, the likes of Thibaut Courtois has been a vocal critic of the number of games players are asked to play, joining Kounde in his sentiments.
Football perhaps risks a more NBA-style form of games where most of the games become increasingly devalued and stars appear less frequently as a result, saving themselves for the home stretch.