La Liga 2016-17: Barcelona's Samuel Umtiti out for three weeks
FC Barcelona's ongoing defensive injury crisis added one more casualty as centre-back Samuel Umtiti has suffered an injury during his stint with his national team, France and won't be in action this month. Luis Enrique will be distraught by this news as the Catalans continue their quest to be the leaders in La Liga this season with rivals, Real Madrid currently with a two-point lead over them.
The club issued an official statement yesterday as Umtiti suffered an injury during France's training for their World Cup qualifier against Sweden tonight. The 22-year-old has been replaced by Valencia's Eliaquim Mangala in the French squad. Umtiti will also miss Les Blues' friendly against Ivory Coast on November 15 as a result of a torn hamstring in his left leg.
A club statement read, “First team player Samuel Umtiti has a rupture to the femoral biceps muscle of his left thigh.This was determined following tests carried out on Thursday. The injury is expected to keep him out for approximately three weeks.” Umtiti suffered his second injury since his move to Barcelona this summer. He had injured his knee during training ahead of Barcelona's game against Atletico Madrid and was out of action for three weeks in September and October.
The youngster has made a fine start to his life for the Spanish giants as the club sees Umtiti as a long term replacement for Gerrard Pique. As well as the two France games, it's likely that the centre-back will miss club games against Malaga, Celtic, Real Sociedad and Hercules. If all goes well, Umtiti may return for the much-anticipated El Clasico on the third of December.
The Catalans have struggled defensively this season as the likes of Gerrard Pique, Jordi Alba and Jeremy Mathieu have all been sidelined with injuries. It will be interesting to see who will partner Javier Mascherano as a centre back in the games this month, as the Argentine and Umtiti were the only fit central defenders available for Barcelona before the injury suffered by the Frenchman.
The duo of Pique and Alba opted out of Spain's squad for their two scheduled games in this week. Pique, though, has returned to training and is expected to be fit for the game against Malaga. Jordi Alba is reported to be ready by that time for the Catalans which will finally provide a much-needed boost for Luis Enrique.
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