Barcelona News: Key Atletico Striker Ruled Out For La Liga Clash
What’s The Story?
Atletico Madrid's star centre-forward Alvaro Morata is almost certain to miss out on the top of the La Liga table clash against Barcelona at the Camp Nou on Saturday with a sprained ankle.
In Case You Didn’t Know…
Morata suffered an ankle injury in Atletico’s 2-0 victory against Girona on Tuesday as he limped off the pitch five minutes before the full-time whistle. The on-loan striker from Chelsea was replaced by Juanfran and now it looks unlikely that Morata will be fit to play against Barcelona in two days’ time.
According to medical reports from Diario AS, the 26-year-old Spaniard will be facing up to two weeks on the sidelines to nurse his sprained ankle. Morata was incidentally suffering from twinges after returning from the recent international break but the staff at Atletico Madrid was hoping that he could shrug it off.
Morata has scored four goals and notched up one assist as well in eight La Liga appearances since returning to Spain in January, re-igniting some of that long lost goalscoring form, but he will not be available for selection against La Blaugrana.
The Heart Of The Matter
Atletico Madrid could close the gap to five points at the top of the La Liga table with a win over leaders Barcelona but manager Diego Simeone is facing an uphill battle with the availability of players for this crucial fixture.
The Argentine boss has a massive headache now because star hitman Diego Costa could also miss the Barcelona encounter with a muscle injury as he did not feature in the win against Girona.
Even French attacker Thomas Lemar is suffering the same fate as Costa which means Simeone will have to look further down the pecking order for a suitable partner to slot in alongside Antoine Greizmann in a hostile Camp Nou environment.
Croatian centre-forward Nikola Kalinic is the only other recognized forward option for Simeone in his squad that contains only 17 match-fit players at the moment.
With his thin squad at the moment, the 48-year-old Simeone may have to look at options from the youth team in the form of Víctor Mollejo or Sergio Camello to end the season on a high note or even feature against Barcelona this weekend.