Barcelona lose two key stars ahead of Napoli clash – report

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TOPSHOT - Barcelona's Dutch midfielder #21 Frenkie De Jong is carried off the pitch after resulting injured during the Spanish league football match between Athletic Club Bilbao and FC Barcelona at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao on March 3, 2024.
Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images

In a dramatic turn of events at San Mamés, FC Barcelona faced not just a disappointing draw but also the potential loss of two key players, Frenkie de Jong, and Pedri, in their La Liga clash against Athletic Bilbao.

The match, which effectively dashed Blaugranes’s title hopes, took a somber turn as the star duo suffered injuries that could see them sidelined for crucial upcoming fixtures.

The evening began on a bleak note for Barcelona when Frenkie de Jong, the Dutch maestro, was forced to leave the field on a stretcher just 25 minutes into the game after twisting his right ankle in an aerial challenge with Unai Gómez. The agony etched on De Jong’s face hinted at the severity of the injury, leaving fans and teammates alike concerned.

Shortly before halftime, another blow struck the Catalans as Pedri, the young sensation from the Canary Islands, signaled his departure with tears in his eyes. A sharp pain in his right quadriceps, following a powerful long-range shot, forced Pedri to make way for a substitution, further adding to Barcelona’s woes.

Barcelona’s manager, Xavi, as highlighted by Mundo Deportivo, expressed his concern post-match, admitting, “We’ll have to wait and see, but the signs are not promising. I fear they might be out for several games. It’s a sad moment for us all.”

As Frenkie de Jong and Pedri left the field, the San Mamés faithful rose to their feet, applauding the efforts of the two Barcelona stars in a display of sportsmanship that transcended the result of the game.

San Mamés, however, has become a dreaded ground for Barcelona in terms of injuries. Earlier this season, Balde suffered a season-ending injury in the Copa del Rey quarter-final, joining the ranks of players struck down at the historic stadium. The list includes Ansu Fati, who suffered a similar fate two seasons ago and is currently on loan at Brighton.

As Barcelona looks ahead to crucial fixtures, including the Champions League clash against Napoli, the loss of Frenkie de Jong and Pedri could prove to be a significant setback. The Catalan giants will be hoping for a swift recovery for their two stars as they navigate the challenges that lie ahead.

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