Barcelona confirm Ousmane Dembele diagnosis after Girona injury
By Tom Gott
Ousmane Dembele is expected to miss around a month of action with what Barcelona described as a thigh injury.
The Frenchman pulled up while running midway through Saturday's 1-0 victory over Girona and, after trying to continue for a few minutes, eventually asked to be substituted.
Dembele has a lengthy injury history but this is his first fitness issue since the arrival of manager Xavi, who now has to plan without the 25-year-old for the foreseeable future.
"Tests carried out this evening on Ousmane Dembele have shown that he has a rectus femoris injury in his left thigh," a statement read. "He is out and his recovery will determine his availability."
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While Barcelona declined to put a timeframe on his return, AS state that Dembele is likely to miss around four weeks of action while he recovers from this setback, which could force him to miss the upcoming Europa League clash with Manchester United.
The first leg of that knockout tie is scheduled for February 16 at Camp Nou, which Dembele is almost certain to miss, while it seems unlikely that he will recover in time to play and role of note in the return leg seven days later.
Dembele also appears set to miss La Liga meetings with Real Betis, Sevilla, Villarreal and Cadiz, with Almeria on 26 February a possible return date for the Frenchman.
The victory over Girona was Barcelona's eighth straight in all competitions and saw them extend their lead atop La Liga to six points, although they have played one game more than rivals Real Madrid, who can close the gap in Sunday's crunch clash with third-placed Real Sociedad.