Jordi Alba has handed Barcelona fans a fresh concern ahead of the upcoming trip to Real Madrid on Saturday (23 December) after he trained away from the rest of his teammates during the Wednesday's session.
Out-of-favour midfielder Arda Turan also missed the session with the La Liga leaders continuing their preparations for El Clasico after Ernesto Valverde gave his players a day off on Tuesday.
Alba made Barcelona's starting line-up during the Sunday's 4-0 win over Deportivo la Coruna as two braces from Luis Suarez and Paulinho helped the Catalans consolidate their lead at the top of La Liga.
The Spanish international left-back was replaced by Lucas Digne in the 81st minute of the game but it was thought that the substitution was only to give him a rest ahead of the crucial trip to Madrid.
Valverde didn't mention any problem during his post-match press conference and the club didn't say anything about the left-back when the Barcelona players returned to training on Monday to undertake a recovery session.
However, the La Liga giants have now informed that Alba and Turan worked alone during the Wednesday's workout while the rest of Valverde's players stepped up their preparations for El Clasico.
"With El Clasico just days away, the FC Barcelona first team continued their preparations for the big game in a morning training session on Wednesday. The available first team players were put through the paces on the Tito Vilanova training pitch at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper, while Jordi Alba and Arda Turan undertook specific training routines," the La Liga side informed in the club website.
The Catalans have not disclosed the reason behind Alba's absence but his potential unavailability to face Real would be a major blow for Valverde.
Yet, the former Valencia full-back has been a crucial player during the Catalan's impressive opening part of the campaign, helping Valverde to cover the huge gap left by Neymar on the left flank.
Indeed, Alba has started 14 of the 15 opening La Liga games of the season, providing 6 assists and scoring a crucial goal in the 1-1 draw at Valencia.
The Spanish league leaders still have two further training sessions before the clash with Real and Valverde will thus be hoping to recover Alba on Thursday in order to have him ready for El Clasico. The Barcelona boss will surely be without Samuel Umtiti, Gerard Deulofeu and Paco Alcacer after the latter suffered a muscle injury during the victory over Deportivo.
Meanwhile, it is still uncertain whether Rafinha Alcantra and Ousmane Dembele will make the trip to Madrid, though the two long-term absentees have trained with the rest of their teammates in recent days.
In this sense, on Monday Barcelona said that the Brazilian had received medical clearance to return to action but Valverde has suggested in his press conference that he won't risk him or Dembele unless they are 100% fit.
The Catalans are currently 11 points ahead of Real in the La Liga table but Los Blancos have a game in hand following their participation in the FIFA Club World Cup last week.