Dembele could miss Barcelona clash with Manchester United due to injury

    Ousmane Dembele is expected to miss a series of important games for Barcelona with a sprained thigh in Saturday’s La Liga victory over Girona.

    The French winger, described by manager Xavi as “Barcelona’s most important head-to-head player”, is unlikely to be able to return in time for the first leg of the Europa League play-off against Manchester United on February 16 at the Camp Nou.

    Barcelona have yet to give an official estimate of how long Dembele will be sidelined, but local sources suggest it could be a three-week absence.

    The injury partially dampened the eighth win in nine La Liga games, in which Pedri, who came on as a substitute for Dembele, scored the only goal.

    Dembélé gave way after 26 minutes and was checked before the Barcelona guests made their short trip home.

    Barcelona announced on their website: “Ousmane Dembele’s examinations carried out tonight have shown that he has sprained the rectus femoris muscle on his left thigh. That means he’s out of the game until he recovers from his injury.”

    Xavi said of Dembele’s hit, “It’s a shame because he’s an important player.”

    Dembele has eight goals and seven assists for Barcelona this season, 15 more than Robert Lewandowski’s 27 (22 goals, 5 assists) for Xavi’s team.

    Before the match against United, Barcelona will play La Liga matches against Real Betis, Sevilla and Villarreal.

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