Barcelona lose Junior Firpo to hip injury ahead of Villarreal clash

By Sports Desk July 05, 2020

Barcelona will be without Junior Firpo when they face Villarreal in LaLiga on Sunday.

A right hip problem will keep the left-back out of the meeting at the Estadio de la Ceramica.

The issue further restricts Quique Setien's senior options in defence, with Samuel Umtiti ruled out of the match due to a left knee injury.

Junior has featured 20 times in all competitions for Barca this season, starting just once since the league resumed last month following its suspension amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Defending champions Barca will be seven points adrift of top spot at kick-off if leaders Real Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao earlier in the day.

Villarreal are unbeaten since LaLiga returned, winning five of their six games, and are just three points behind fourth-placed Sevilla in the final Champions League qualification spot.

Related items

  • Barcelona defender Umtiti tests positive for coronavirus Barcelona defender Umtiti tests positive for coronavirus

    Barcelona have revealed Samuel Umtiti has tested positive for coronavirus.

    The French defender's status was announced following COVID-19 tests carried out among the Barca squad on Thursday.

    Umtiti is asymptomatic and isolating at home, the club revealed, though the centre-back was already certain to miss the Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich.

    The 26-year-old - who has made just 18 appearances in all competitions in the 2019-20 season - had not travelled with his team-mates to Lisbon due to a knee injury.

    "After the PCR tests carried out on Thursday, the first-team player Samuel Umtiti has tested positive for COVID-19," Barcelona said in a statement.

    "The players is asymptomatic, is in good health and isolating at home.

    "The club has informed the relevant sporting and health authorities, as well as tracing all the people who have had contact with the player so that they can undergo the corresponding PCR tests."

    With Umtiti unavailable, compatriot Clement Lenglet was chosen to start alongside Gerard Pique at the heart of Barcelona's defence for Friday's clash with Bundesliga champions Bayern.

     

  • Messi to Inter? Nerazzurri capable of signing Barcelona star, says ex-president Moratti Messi to Inter? Nerazzurri capable of signing Barcelona star, says ex-president Moratti

    Inter owners Suning have the resources to sign Lionel Messi from Barcelona, according to the Italian club's former president Massimo Moratti.

    Barca superstar Messi has been linked with a shock switch to Inter once his contract expires in 2021 after reportedly growing unhappy at Camp Nou.

    That speculation only intensified last month when a picture of the six-time Ballon d'Or winner was projected by the Suning Group onto the Duomo di Milano.

    And Moratti, who brought Ronaldo to Inter and also tried to sign Messi, is confident the Serie A giants will land the Argentina international if they really want him.

    "I'm just a fan and I don't have any confidential news," he told Quotidiano Sportivo.

    "But I know one thing. When it comes to resources and competence, Suning has what it takes to bring Messi to Milan."

    Inter already have a prolific attacker leading their line in the form of Romelu Lukaku, who has scored 31 goals in his first season since joining from Manchester United.

    Moratti suggested at the start of the season Mauro Icardi would be a better option than Lukaku, but he has admitted to being proved wrong by Lukaku.

    "I got it wrong on Lukaku," he said. "In all honesty, I thought he was just physically strong and feared we would regret losing Icardi.

    "Instead, Romelu is a champion, always helps his team-mates and has good vision of the play.

    "Antonio Conte was right to demand his signing and then did so well to improve him."

  • Bayern are great but Messi gives Barcelona the edge over anyone - Mascherano Bayern are great but Messi gives Barcelona the edge over anyone - Mascherano

    Javier Mascherano is convinced Barcelona will overcome a "very good" Bayern Munich side in their Champions League quarter-final tie thanks to the presence of Lionel Messi.

    Argentina superstar Messi took his tally for the season to 31 goals with a strike in last week's 3-1 last-16 second-leg win over Napoli as Barca progressed 4-2 on aggregate.

    Bayern have won 26 of their past 27 matches in all competitions and now await Quique Setien's side in Lisbon on Friday after thrashing Chelsea 7-1 over two legs in the previous round.

    Despite the German champions' impressive form, however, Mascherano is expecting former team-mate Messi to guide Barcelona to victory in the one-legged tie.

    "Bayern have a very good team with some physically strong players but, in a one-off match, anything can happen and I'm convinced Barcelona will be good enough," Mascherano told Catalan daily Ara.

    "Barcelona need to control the match because it's always difficult for them to defend around their own area. If they can control things, then it's down to individual moments and that's when things begin to happen.

    "Messi is the main reason Barcelona can beat any team. He knows they are just two more matches away from the Champions League final. I saw that desire from him against Napoli and it spread to his team-mates."

    Messi is likely to start alongside Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez on Friday but there is talk Barca are looking to bring in a long-term replacement for the latter.

    Inter striker Lautaro Martinez has been strongly linked with a switch to Camp Nou during the close season, and Mascherano is a fan of his compatriot

    "I don't know if he's the perfect replacement for Luis Suarez," he said. "What I do know is, he's a very good player and is very compatible with Messi for the national team.

    "But I don't know if he's Suarez's replacement or if Suarez needs replacing."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.