Barca’s COVID crisis worsens: Now 10 positives


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Barcelona have just nine first-team players available for Sunday’s trip to Mallorca after confirming that Sergino Dest, Abde Ezzalzouli and Philippe Coutinho have tested positive for COVID-19.

A total of 10 players have now been ruled out this weekend with the virus as they isolate at their homes, per LaLiga protocols.

Ousmane Dembele, Samuel Umtiti, Gavi, Alejandro Balde, Jordi Alba, Dani Alves and Clement Lenglet all received positive results earlier this week.

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Midfielder Sergio Busquets is also missing for the trip to San Moix through suspension, while Ansu Fati, Memphis Depay, Pedri, Sergi Roberto and Martin Braithwaite are all recovering from injuries. Of those five, Pedri is closest to full fitness and could feature on the bench at Mallorca. New signing Ferran Torres cannot be registered until Jan. 3.

That leaves Barca with just nine first-team players for their first LaLiga match of 2022, including two goalkeepers: Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Neto, Ronald Araujo, Gerard Pique, Eric Garcia, Oscar Mingueza, Frenkie de Jong, Riqui Puig and Luuk de Jong.

LaLiga rules state that games must go ahead if teams have at least five first-team players available and are able to field a 13-man squad, including one goalkeeper, with the numbers made up with B team and academy players.

B team players Nico Gonzalez and Ferran Jutgla have both featured regularly for the first team this season and are available, while Ilias Akhomach, Alvaro Sanz and Mika Marmol could also come into head coach Xavi Hernandez’s thinking if the game goes ahead.

Barca are not the only side dealing with a coronavirus outbreak, with Rayo Vallecano and Real Sociedad also hit hard, but a LaLiga spokesman said all games remain on this weekend as things stand.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid have confirmed that head coach Diego Simeone, as well as first-team players Antoine Griezmann, Joao Felix, Koke and Hector Herrera tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from their winter break.

Atletico said they are all asymptomatic and are isolating in their homes, per LaLiga protocols. The LaLiga champions, who have lost four matches in a row, host Rayo Vallencano on Sunday.

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