90min
FC Barcelona

Pedri to miss Atletico Madrid game after aggravating muscle injury

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Pedri only returned to action on Wednesday night against Benfica
Pedri only returned to action on Wednesday night against Benfica / David Ramos/Getty Images
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Pedri will miss Barcelona's crunch La Liga meeting with Atletico Madrid after suffering a flare up of a thigh problem but Jordi Alba has been cleared to play.

Pedri barely missed a minute for club or country last season, sitting out of just one La Liga game as well as representing Spain at Euro 2020 and the Olympics.

Despite his robust nature, he did pick up a muscle injury during last month's 3-0 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich last month which ruled him out for several games earlier this season.

The midfielder made a welcome return to the fray against Benfica on Wednesday, but could not prevent his side slipping to another embarrassing 3-0 loss. Pedri looked out of sorts throughout the game and it has now emerged that he may have been rushed back too quickly, with Barcelona confirming that he has aggravated the issue.

This has led to the 18-year-old being left out of the squad to face Atletico on Saturday evening, in what is a bitter blow to Barça's chances of success.

In better news for under-fire head coach Ronald Koeman, left-back Alba - who also picked up a muscle injury in the Bayern game - has passed a fitness test and will feature. HIs absence has been harshly felt in recent weeks, especially after backup left-back Alejandro Balde was ruled out too.

As a result, Koeman opted to field Sergino Dest in an unfamiliar left wing-back role against Benfica - and he seriously struggled.

After that defeat, many were expecting the head coach to be given his marching orders. However, Barcelona have opted to leave him in place for the Atleti game, though his future will be discussed during the upcoming international break.

90min understands that the club have already compiled a list of candidates which includes Xavi, Phillip Cocu, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Roberto Martinez and Brendan Rodgers.

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