Philippe Coutinho’s truncated Barcelona career is again on hold as he will miss several months due to a nasty knee injury.
The 28-year-old suffered a meniscus injury to his left knee as Barca drew 1-1 with Eibar on Tuesday. The Brazil international will go under the surgeon’s knife at which point his expected return date will be clearer.
The second half of the 2017-18 campaign was positive, with the South American netting eight La Liga goals. But despite making 34 appearances the following campaign, his level dipped, leaving fans wondering what they had bought.
The decision was made to loan him to German giants Bayern Munich in 2019-2020. Despite stating that he was happy with the Bundesliga outfit, he returned to the Nou Camp last summer.
Coutinho suffered a hamstring problem in October that kept him out for three weeks and had just returned to action. He replaced Miralem Pjanic on 66 minutes but was unable to complete the game.
Barca have confirmed he has an “injury to the lateral meniscus in his left knee.”
And a statement on the club’s website added: “Treatment will necessitate arthroscopic surgery which will take place in the coming days.”
It seems unlikely that the former Inter ace will play again this term, further hampering Barca’s title hopes. He joins Gerard Pique and Ansu Fati as long-term injury victims, with the Spanish giants off the pace this term.
They sit sixth in the table and are seven points adrift of table-topping Atletico Madrid. Los Rojiblancos also have two games in hand and will be virtually out of sight should they win both.
Messi return a boost
The one positive for beleaguered boss Ronald Koeman is the impending return of superstar Lionel Messi. The Argentina legend is set to return from an ankle problem when Barca travel to El Alcoraz on Sunday.
They will face a Huesca side bottom of the table but not yet cut adrift from their relegation rivals. Koeman’s side are unbeaten in five league games but have already dropped points in eight matches.
It is unlike a side that has dealt ruthlessly with most teams in recent times to win seven titles since 2010.