Barcelona have confirmed that Frenkie de Jong has injured his calf, likely ruling him out of their next game against Athletic Club – and possibly more games down the line.
De Jong joined Barcelona from Ajax last summer for £67.5m. Despite the club’s change in manager mid-way through the campaign, the 23-year-old has remained a regular fixture of the side, missing just three games across all competitions this season.
The Catalan giants are locked in a tight battle with their familiar rivals Real Madrid for the La Liga title, and dropped valuable points away to Champions League-chasing Sevilla in a goalless draw on Friday night. De Jong missed that match as a precaution but the injury has proven worse than first thought.
Barcelona’s official website revealed on Sunday that a clinical follow-up on De Jong uncovered an injury to his right calf but provided no timescale for a return, instead using the stock phrase: “The evolution of the injury will condition the player’s availability.”
However, the Spanish publication AS has reported that Barcelona will be without De Jong for a minimum of two weeks, as the injury is much more severe than the club’s statement suggests.
Barcelona already had a small squad to choose from after letting several academy graduates go out on loan in January, with Carles Aleñá and Jean-Clair Todibo moving to Real Betis and Schalke respectively. Along with the long-term injury to Ousmane Dembélé, midfielder Sergi Roberto joined De Jong in missing the Sevilla clash as the Spaniard was sidelined with a fractured rib.
If De Jong is bound to the treatment room for a fortnight, the Netherlands international could miss as many as four games given the compressed schedule of La Liga following lockdown.
In that next fortnight, Barcelona face Athletic, Celta Vigo, Villarreal and Atlético Madrid.