David De Gea received treatment for an injury at half-time during Spain’s 1-1 draw in Sweden before aggravating the problem and then limping off in the second half, Spain boss Robert Moreno has revealed.
The goalkeeper was eventually forced off after an hour at the Friends Arena in Stockholm and could now face being ruled out of Manchester United’s Premier League clash with Liverpool on Sunday – a match vital for both sides, but perhaps more so for United with the team just two points clear of the relegation zone and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer under increasing pressure.
De Gea hobbled out of the Euro 2020 qualifier following an innocuous-looking incident, having immediately grabbed his the back of his thigh after clearing a back pass from his own player.
He sat on the ground in his six-yard box before making his own way off the pitch accompanied by the Spanish medical team.
Solskjaer will be hoping the injury is not serious, with the goalkeeper due to arrive back at their training base on Wednesday for an assessment and just four days now until 100% Liverpool make the short journey to Old Trafford.
De Gea’s absence will mean Sergio Romero deputising in goal and while the Argentine is more than capable, the loss of De Gea will prove another untimely blow for United who already have injury doubts over several stars.
Asked about the injury in his post-match press conference, Moreno said: “He had pain in the abductor muscle but he received treatment at half-time and wanted to keep playing. He gave us his word, but in the end he couldn’t continue.”
Spain were behind at the time of De Gea’s departure thanks to Marcus Berg’s goal 10 minutes earlier but substitute Rodrigo poked home from close range in stoppage time to seal the point that they needed to confirm their place at Euro 2020.
After ensuring qualification for next summer’s finals, Moreno said: “It is a draw but it tastes like a victory for us, and probably a defeat for Sweden.
“I am happy with the team’s game and with the players. It was a difficult game against a rival that eliminated great teams in the World Cup. We are very happy.
“When you become a high-level team like Spain, it is an obligation to qualify. I want to remember (former manager) Luis Enrique and his family and dedicate this qualification to them also.”
In June Enrique stepped down as coach of the Spanish national team after less than a year in charge to be with his terminally ill daughter.