Madrid, Oct 15 (IANS) FC Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has an injury problem less than two weeks before the first ‘Classico’ between his side and Real Madrid with the confirmation that the Catalan football club’s central defender Thomas Vermaelen will be out of action for around six weeks with a hamstring injury.
The 32-year-old suffered the injury to his right leg while playing for Belgium in their 2-1 win against Switzerland on Friday night and returned to his club for tests, which have confirmed the extent of his problems, reports Xinhua news agency.
Vermaelen’s injury could hardly have come at a worse time for Barca, who have a difficult schedule ahead of them with a home game against Liga Santander leaders, Sevilla on Saturday night followed by a vital Champions League game against Inter Milan on October 24, just four days before Real Madrid visit Camp Nou for the Classico.
The Belgian’s injury leaves Valverde with Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet as his only two fit central defenders, given that Samuel Umtiti is also sidelined through injury, meaning he will probably have to look to the club’s B-team to provide cover over the coming weeks.
Barca lost the leadership of the Liga Santander before the international break after a 1-1 draw in Valencia which meant they have taken just 3 points from their last 4 games.