Marc Andre Ter Stegen has been one of the most important players for FC Barcelona for almost seven years, and his performances were crucial in keeping Barcelona competitive at some of the most difficult times for the club in recent history.
Several coaches that have led Barcelona in the last few years have kept Ter Stegen firmly as their preferred keeper, but the German has not been able to play for Xavi ever since the last international break.
During the November break, the goalkeeper suffered an injury to his back at the German national team camp and has not recovered from it since the last three weeks.
Initially, the problem looked like a simple one, and the keeper was believed to be able to return to the field in a matter of days. However, the issue has continued now for weeks, which has rung alarm bells at the Catalan club.
The club’s medical facilities have decided to take drastic measures, and are now prioritising surgery on the goalkeeper. There is also the option to let him recover naturally for a few weeks, but this could end in the discomfort continuing to be present without any betterment.
The operation would not be too complicated, with the main objective being the removal of pressure between the vertebrae, and the German will need around four to six weeks for recovery after the surgery, and thus, as Diario AS has noted, is unlikely to get on the pitch again in 2023.
Keeping in view the international break, the German will miss four games if he goes under the knife, three in La Liga and one in the Champions League.
As Xavi Hernandez commented in the press conference after the Atletico Madrid match, a decision on one of these recovery methods will be made this week.
Inaki Pena’s performances will provide Barcelona with some gap to allow Ter Stegen the required resting time, but however things go, the decision cannot be delayed any longer.