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Calf injury sidelines Jeremy Mathieu at worst possible time for Barcelona

The Frenchman is yet another casualty for Luis Enrique to deal with.

Barcelona are short on numbers at the back.

Madrid, Oct 27 (IANS) Spanish football giants FC Barcelona's injury crisis worsened with the news that central defender Jeremy Mathieu will be out of action for around three weeks.

The 32-year-old was forced out of Barca's 0-1 defeat to local rivals Espanyol in the final of the Catalan Cup on Tuesday with a calf injury, reports Xinhua news agency.

The club carried out tests on Wednesday and a statement on the Barca website confirmed that Mathieu has "injured the soleus on his right calf.... He will be out of action for an estimated three weeks."

The French international's injury could not have come at a worse time given that central defender Gerard Pique is also out of action until the middle of November after twisting his knee in last week's win over Manchester City in the Champions League.

Left back Jordi Alba will also be sidelined for around a fortnight after suffering a hamstring injury in the same match.

Meanwhile, midfielder Andres Iniesta will not play again before the New Year after damaging knee ligaments following a heavy tackle by Valencia midfielder Enzo Perez in last Saturday's 3-2 win at the Mestalla Stadium.

Mathieu's injury means Barca coach Luis Enrique has just two central defenders, Samuel Umtiti and Javier Mascherano available for Saturday's Liga game at home against bottom-placed Granada. 

Barcelona have suffered from plenty of injuries this season both muscular and tissue and are yet to reach out to the core of the issue and ensure it doesn't happen again. Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta, Javier Mascherano and Ivan Rakitic have all suffered from injuries this season. 

And Iniesta is the one the team will miss the most given he’s losing out almost two months of the season. Luis Enrique has tried filling in Denis Suarez and Andre Gomes in the same position but neither have been able to fill the Spaniard’s shoes. 

But with Messi now back in the first team squad now, the teams looks to be headed in the right direction. Barcelona host Granada in the League next before traveling to Manchester to face Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League. 

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