Barcelona defender Jeremy Mathieu is facing as much as eight weeks on the sidelines after the France international underwent a knee operation on Thursday (31 March), the club has confirmed. The 32-year-old will miss the forthcoming El Clasico against Real Madrid on 2 April, but may be back for the end of the campaign.
Mathieu suffered a torn medial meniscus during France's 4-2 victory over Russia on 29 March, forced off just eight minutes after he replaced Patrice Evra at left-back. Barcelona confirmed on Wednesday the worst fears of fans, revealing the defender would require surgery.
Early reports suggested Mathieu would miss the remainder of the season for Barcelona, as well as Euro 2016 with his national side. However, Barca have now provided a boost for both their fans and supporters of Les Bleus by revealing he should be back in action in six to eight weeks.
This means Mathieu will be able to help Barcelona in the final games of their campaign. The Catalans have already booked their place in the Copa del Rey final against Sevilla on 22 May, and are still in contention to retain the Champions League title – with the final of the tournament to be played on 28 May. Should Mathieu manage to return to action before the end of the season he may also have a chance to prove to France manager Didier Deschamps he deserves a place in his squad for the Euros.
Mathieu will miss Barcelona's forthcoming game against Real Madrid, though, as well as both legs of the Champions League quarter-final with Atletico Madrid. The first leg is to be played next week at the Nou Camp and the second is scheduled for 13 April at the Vicente Calderon.
Mathieu would have likely been a bench option for these games anyway, with Luis Enrique having both Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano at his disposal following the international break. However, Mathieu's versatility in both the heart of defence and a left-back as cover for Jordi Alba would have seen him play a critical role in the period.
Mathieu has started 12 games in La Liga, six in the Copa del Rey and a further three in the Champions League this season. The Barcelona defender was more optimistic than the club in a Twitter message to fans, suggesting his return could be as soon as four weeks away.
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