Barcelona suffered a significant setback ahead of their match against Real Madrid on Sunday.
Already without Ousmane Dembélé, the Catalan side was hanging their hopes on being able to count on Pedri as the young midfielder had participated in training throughout the week. The plan was to let him play an hour in El Clasico.
However, those hopes have been dashed as Pedri exited training early on Friday after not having “good sensations.” This minor setback then put his availability in doubt before news broke that he was being ruled out altogether.
Furthermore, according to Diario AS reporter Javier Miguel, Pedri also drops out of the Spain squad for the upcoming international break.
Pedri suffered the injury during the first leg of the Europa League playoff against Manchester United. Again, the hope had been that he would be available for the Real Madrid game at the Camp Nou. Everything was lining towards that before training on Friday.
His return is something Xavi was counting on and it cannot be understated how much Pedri’s influences the team and how much they’ve missed him.
It’s no secret Barcelona’s attack has lacked punch since he went down. While Pedri may not directly pop up on the score sheet, the tempo and pause he gives in midfield greatly contributes to their attack and their ability to defend with the ball as well. Areas in which they’ve sorely been below par despite pulling out wins.
The goal now, as with Dembélé, is to be available for the second leg of the Copa del Rey against Real Madrid also at the Camp Nou. Barcelona hold a 1-0 lead over Los Blancos.
If there is any silver lining, or something to hang your hat on, it’s that Barcelona do have a nine-point lead over Madrid. While their aim is to win and all but put LaLiga to bed, they can also afford a loss. Long-term, it’s a better alternative than to somehow see Pedri force himself to make the match only to get re-injured an be back at square one.