This time, good news was confirmed for Manchester United: Ousmane Dembele was excluded from the Barcelona squad for the Europa League playoffs against the Red Devils.
As reported here at the weekend, the injury-prone superstar again succumbed to the fickle hand of fate when he sustained a hip injury in Blaugrana’s 1-0 win over Girona.
At first it was thought that he could be ruled out for 2-3 weeks, which called into question his readiness for the first match of the decisive match.
But now it has turned out that the injury is a “rupture of the rectus femoris muscle of the left leg,” which rules out his retirement for four to five weeks.
Thus, the electric winger will miss both matches of the match, which will take place on February 16 and 23.
For the first time in the Europa League, an additional playoff round will be played: the eight third-placed players in the Champions League groups will face the eight second-placed players in the Europa League groups.
With other names including Sporting, Red Bull Salzburg, Bayer Leverkusen and Shakhtar Donetsk, United pulled the shortest straw when they pulled Barca out of the hat.
Blaugrana is playing in La Liga this season and at this stage is ahead of Real Madrid, who took second place, by five points.
Their form is largely due to Dembele’s contribution to a season that seemed to be the first when serious injuries were avoided.
The Frenchman scored eight goals and provided seven assists in 24 matches for the Catalans in all competitions.
He also provided two assists to France, helping them reach the World Cup finals.
United will still struggle with players like Robert Lewandowski, who has scored 13 goals in 15 games for Barca to date. But at least he won’t fall under the awnings made by a seemingly cursed 25-year-old.