Franck Kessie has been ruled out until club football the World Cup after picking up an injury in Barcelona’s win over Viktoria Plzen.
Kessi has spent most of the season on the bench since joining Barcelona in the summer but was given his fifth start of the campaign in their final Champions League group match.
Playing as the holding midfielder in place of Sergio Busquets, he was performing his duties well when he was forced off after 67 minutes.
Speaking afterwards, Xavi confirmed that his player has a hamstring issue and will now be out until after the World Cup, missing the team’s two matches before the winter break begins.
“He is screwed. I think he has hurt his hamstring,” said the manager.
“He was playing a good game in the midfield position, winning duels, and was good at the start.”
Kessie’s pain will be eased by the fact that he wouldn’t have been playing in the World Cup even if he fit with Ivory Coast failing to qualify.
The same can’t be said for the other players who missed Barcelona’s last match through injury though; Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia, Ronald Araujo, Sergio Roberto, Andreas Christensen and Jules Kounde.
However, all of the above are hopeful of being fit in time to go to Qatar with their countries with the exception of Roberto, who dislocated his shoulder against Athletic Bilbao and will be out for over a month, and most should be available to Xavi for at least one of the remaining matches before the break.