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Barcelona suffer Frenkie de Jong, Pedri injury blows in Athletic Bilbao draw

Barcelona suffer De Jong, Pedri injury blows in Athletic Bilbao draw
© Reuters
Barcelona suffer a double injury blow after Frenkie de Jong and Pedri both pick up injuries in Sunday's goalless draw with Athletic Bilbao.

Barcelona have suffered a double injury blow after Frenkie de Jong and Pedri were forced off in the goalless draw with Athletic Bilbao at San Mames.

The Catalan giants played out a stalemate in Sunday's league fixture as they missed the chance to close the eight-point gap to leaders Real Madrid.

Barcelona's failure to claim all three points was compounded by the fact that both De Jong and Pedri picked up injuries in the first half.

De Jong had to be withdrawn in the 26th minute after awkwardly landing on his ankle following a challenge for a high ball.

The Dutchman, who was making his 150th Barcelona appearance, could not continue due to the issue and had to be replaced by 20-year-old midfielder Fermin Lopez.

FC Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong during the warm up before the match on November 25, 2023© Reuters

De Jong has already missed around two months of the campaign due to an ankle issue, and he now appears to be a major doubt for the second leg of the Champions League last-16 tie against Napoli, which is set to take place at Montjuic on March 12.

Pedri is also bracing himself for a spell on the sidelines after he was forced off in the closing stages of the first period at San Mames.

The Spain international appeared to pull up with his third muscle injury of the season and was visibly distraught as made his way to the bench.

Pedri was sidelined for two months at the start of the season due to a hamstring problem, before another muscle issue kept him out of three competitive games across December and January.

Barcelona midfielder Pedri on November 24, 2023© Reuters

Barcelona will now wait to establish the extent of the injuries to De Jong and Pedri, but Xavi had admitted that "it doesn't look good" for the pair.

Speaking after the game, Xavi told reporters: "The injuries affected the team because Frenkie and Pedri are two important players for how we want to play.

"Pedri's been coming good again, he trained really well this week. It's such a shame. Frenkie, too. He is heavily involved in our play. They are two big losses. It doesn't look good. We missed them today and we are going to miss them. Hopefully, it's for less time than expected."

De Jong has made 27 appearances for Barcelona this season, while Pedri has featured in 23 matches throughout the campaign.

Barcelona, who occupy third place in La Liga, will turn their attention to Friday's home meeting with Mallorca, before they prepare for the return leg against Napoli in the Champions League.

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1Real Madrid30236166204675
4Atletico MadridAtletico30184856352158
5Athletic Bilbao30168650282256
6Real Sociedad301310743311249
7Real BetisBetis31111283837145
12Las PalmasLas Palmas30107132933-437
16Rayo Vallecano30612122538-1330
17Celta Vigo31610153346-1328

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