Xavi’s concerns mount as key Barcelona midfielder limps out of international duty

Xavi’s concerns mount as key Barcelona midfielder limps out of international duty

 

The concerns facing newly-named Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez have continued to mount on Saturday, on the back of developments in the Netherlands’ meeting with Montenegro.

Depay’s double not enough

Louis van Gaal’s side marked their return to action a short time ago.

On the back of a 4-game World Cup qualifying win streak, the Oranje made the trip to the aforementioned Montenegro, aware that a 5th-straight 3-point haul would secure their spot at next year’s Qatar showpiece.

And, with less than ten minutes to play at the Podgorica City Stadium, this is precisely what the Netherlands appeared to be headed towards.

A brace on the part of star attacker Memphis Depay saw the visitors in firm control, in possession of a 2-0 advantage.

However, there was still time for a twist in the tale…

First, with 82 minutes on the clock, Montenegro pulled one back courtesy of Ilija Vukotic.

Then, less than five minutes later, the hosts bagged an ultimately decisive equaliser, as Nikola Vujnovic slotted home, breaking Dutch hearts in the process.

De Jong blow

As outlined above, though, the devastating nature of their eventual collapse in Montenegro actually proved far from the Netherlands’ sole concern on Saturday night.

This comes with one of the nation’s star performers having also been forced into a premature departure from proceedings.

The player in question? Frenkie de Jong.

After hauling the gifted midfielder off late in the action this evening, Louis van Gaal went on to confirm in his post-match interview that de Jong was suffering with ankle discomfort:

Despite de Jong himself having insinuated that he should be ready to feature from the off in his country’s crucial showdown with Norway on Tuesday, news of the former Ajax man’s issue will no doubt be met with widespread concern back in Barcelona, with new boss Xavi Hernandez having already been forced to face up to a lengthy list of injury absentees.

 

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