Manager Xavi Hernandez has confirmed that Pedri will miss Barcelona’s La Liga clash against Real Madrid on Sunday (19 March).
The Spanish midfielder suffered a hamstring injury in his team’s first-leg UEFA Europa League last-16 draw against Manchester United last month. He has been sidelined since but there was hope that he could return in time for this weekend’s El Clasico.
However, Xavi has confirmed that the Catalan giants will face Real Madrid without the 20-year-old as they don’t want to risk aggravating his injury. He said at his pre-match presser (h/t BarcaUniversal):
“These are matches where you need to be at 100%. If the feelings are not good, there is no need to impose anything. It is not a final match and there will still be 12 matches left, it is not decisive. We don’t want to lose Pedri for another two months.”
🎙️ Xavi on Pedri:#ElClásico pic.twitter.com/SSXfMbeevp
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 18, 2023
“We can rise to the best level even in the absence of Pedri and Dembele. We did that before with the absence of Lewandowski and Pedri.”
Ousmane Dembele is also sidelined with a hamstring injury and is still believed to be in individual training. His injury is reportedly taking longer to heal than expected.
Barcelona have won four times and lost twice in six games without Pedri since his injury against Manchester United. The Blaugrana notably lost 2-1 in the return leg of the Champions League last 16 against the Red Devils after drawing the first leg 2-2.
The other loss came in La Liga when UD Almeria secured a shock 1-0 win on 26 February.
Barcelona gives verdict on Ronaldo Araujo and Real Madrid star’s potential battle
Barcelona centre-back Ronald Araujo will have his hands full against Real Madrid in trying to deal with Vinicius Junior.
The Brazilian winger is rapid and has the ability to beat defenders at will. Araujo, 24, has become one of Europe’s top young centre-backs in recent years and will be aware of the threat posed by Vinicius.
Addressing a potential battle on the pitch between the two, Xavi said at his pre-match press conference, via the aforementioned source:
“Araujo is physically strong and fast, he reads the opponent very well. He is a leader, aggressive, and a high-level centre-back. Vini is also a great player, he has a strong personality, too, not just Ronald.”
Vinicius has 19 goals and 10 assists in 40 games across competitions for Real Madrid this campaign. Barcelona, meanwhile, can go 10 points clear at the top of the table with 12 games left if they beat Los Blancos at Spotify Camp Nou.