In what was otherwise a grand and colorful farewell to Camp Nou for FC Barcelona, it was perhaps only stained by one particular occurrence. Barcelona youngster and now first-choice left-back Alejandro Balde had to be substituted early due to a nasty-looking injury.
The 19-year-old was chosen by Xavi to be amongst the starting eleven that would feature against RCD Mallorca on Matchday 37 of La Liga Santander at Spotify Camp Nou. In a game that held no particular stakes for RCD Mallorca, a dangerous tackle with such viciousness was expected by almost no one in the crowd or by those watching from home.
Near the 17th minute mark, Mallorca player Amath Ndiaye collided with the young fullback where the former came in sliding with his feet midair and met Balde’s lower leg in gruesome fashion, causing the latter’s ankle to snap and twist in a visibly painful manner.
Leaving the player unable to move and needing to be helped off the pitch following agonizing expressions from the youngster, Amath Ndiaye was consequently shown a direct red card by referee Jorge Figueroa following consultation with VAR.
Alejandro Balde was then replaced by the incoming Sergi Roberto at the stage of the game where FC Barcelona were leading 1-0, courtesy of Ansu Fati’s early goal.
Following the game, reports suggested a recovery time from anywhere around 7-10 weeks for the youngster, with the official FC Barcelona account later confirming the details of the injury, stating it to be a partial tear of the lateral collateral ligament of his right ankle, and further estimating the player to be unavailable for selection for 6-7 weeks minimum.
Moreover, reports from the likes of Javi Miguel of Diario AS state that the player will likely be out for even longer, with the estimated time expected to be around 10 weeks, as pessimism continues to exist around the extent and recovery concerning the injury.
The player will indefinitely miss the final league game set to be played away against Celta Vigo, and most likely miss most of if not all of the planned pre-season in the United States.