Ansu Fati has not made enough progress in his recovery from a hamstring injury and has been ruled out of Barcelona’s upcoming Champions League clash with Bayern Munich.
Barcelona head into the game knowing that they will likely need a win at the home of the German champions to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League, with Benfica capable of leapfrogging them into second place with a victory over bottom side Dynamo Kyiv.
It’s obviously an enormous game, and Fati had informed manager Xavi that he wanted to be considered for the match regardless of how fit he actually was.
There was some optimism that Fati might make it back in time, but according to AS, the decision has been made to leave the winger at home for the game.
Despite Fati’s determination, Barcelona have always been adamant that they would not rush him back until he was 100% ready. The 19-year-old missed nearly an entire year with a nasty knee injury and has battled minor issues since his return in September, and there are already concerns that his body may be struggling with the workload after such a lengthy spell out.
Barcelona were prepared to give Fati the chance to return to team training on Friday, but his fitness levels were nowhere near good enough and that comeback was postponed to Sunday, but it has now been delayed indefinitely while Fati continues to recover.
There’s no suggestion that his recovery has stalled or his injury has developed. His return against Bayern was more of a fantasy than reality and it has simply now been decided that Fati will not be capable of playing on Wednesday.
Instead, the meeting with Elche on December 18 has been identified as a likely target for Fati to return.
Xavi does have plenty of options to play out wide, but just how much faith he has in any of them is a different matter.
Senior players like Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho continue to underwhelm, with Xavi putting most of his faith in 19-year-old reserve player Ez Abde ahead of the pair. 18-year-old Yusuf Demir is also available but has struggled for minutes under Xavi.