The Frenchman is not likely to play again until February.
The reason? Another muscle injury.
Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele is likely to be out for up to 10 weeks with a thigh injury, the club have confirmed. The France international was forced off in the first half of Wednesday’s 3-1 Champions League win over former club Borussia Dortmund. He will now travel to Qatar for certain parts of the recovery programme, combined with sessions at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper.
Barca announced on Friday that Dembele has damaged his right hamstring and is expected to be out of action until February. Dembele is due to miss a difficult run of matches for the La Liga champions, who face Atletico Madrid, Real Mallorca, Real Sociedad, Real Madrid and Deportivo Alaves before the mid-season break.
He will also sit out the Champions League visit to Inter Milan on 10 December and is highly likely to be unavailable for the revamped Supercopa de Espana, with Barca facing Atletico in the semi-final on 8 January.
“I’m not a specialist in muscle fibres,” coach Ernesto Valverde said at Saturday’s news conference. “I say that everything comes from the first injury. I do not have a concrete idea [of why he picks up these injuries]. He is a very explosive player.
“I have talked to him. Now he is calmer after the injury, but he was very affected especially by the repetition. We wll try to cover for the loss with players from the B team, who are responding by playing at a good level. It’s clear that when he arrived here two years ago, he had to get used to our style and fit in here. It is true that he was improving, being calm, training well. He is a big loss and it’s an unexpected setback.”
Dembele, who has started only three league games this season, has seen his Barca career blighted by injuries since he joined from Dortmund for an initial €105 million. The 22-year-old has had three previous thigh problems and twice damaged hamstrings, while he also suffered an ankle sprain in January.