Barcelona have two potentially season-defining ties against Real Madrid on the horizon, but will be missing one of their most creative players for the first of those. French winger Ousmane Dembele was originally diagnosed with a four to five-week absence, but looks set to extend that.
Cadena Cope reporter Helena Condis Edo has reported that Barcelona have ruled Dembele out of the El Clasico on the 19th of March. She states that there have been no setbacks in his recovery, but neither Xavi Hernandez nor the medical staff want to take unneccessary risks.
‼️Dembélé queda descartado definitivamente para el Clásico del 19 de marzo.
Los médicos y Xavi han consensuado que vuelva finalmente, tras el parón de selecciones.
No hay recaída. Pero quieren actuar con la máxima cautela posible.
+ @partidazocope @ESPORTSCOPE @tjcope
— Helena Condis Edo (@HelenaCondis) March 9, 2023
He is ruled out of their tie against Athletic Club this weekend too, and presumably will return against Elche after the international break. The following Wednesday Barcelona face Real Madrid in the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final, with the Blaugrana leading 1-0.
Barcelona have been missing a number of key pieces in recent weeks, but Gavi will return from suspension against Athletic Club, while Robert Lewandowski is also set to come back. Pedri has also been injured since their first leg against Manchester United, but could be back in Bilbao, and will likely return for Real Madrid at Camp Nou.