Barcelona have been dealt a huge blow in their quest for success this season as Luis Suarez has been ruled out for four months after undergoing knee surgery.
The Uruguayan striker could be set to miss the rest of the season after he decided with the club it would be best to go ahead with the operation, after struggling with a meniscus issue for a number of months.
It was originally believed the 32-year-old would only miss up to six weeks of action because of the injury which was first sustained at the end of last season.
However, Barcelona have now confirmed through their official club website that Suarez will be out of action for four months.
The injury deals a massive dent to Barcelona’s hopes of retaining the La Liga title and also in their pursuit of the Champions League.
Suarez missed the end of the 2018-19 season after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery to treat a medial meniscus injury on the same knee.
He returned to action this season but has been playing through the pain with injections.
Suarez played the full duration on Thursday as Ernesto Valverde’s side fell to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals of the Spanish Super Cup held in Saudi Arabia.
Following the game both the striker and the club decided to operate on the issue.
Barcelona’s official club statement read: ‘The first team player, Luis Suarez has been operated on this Sunday by Dr. Ramon Cugat, who used keyhole surgery to resolve an injury to the external meniscus of the right knee by performing a suture. The Uruguayan striker will be out for approximately four months.’
Despite the pain, Suarez has been a regular for the Catalans this season, scoring 14 goals in 23 games across all competitions.
He also has been a key creator for for his team, topping the La Liga assist charts so far this season with seven to date.
It adds to Barcelona’s injury problems across their attacking line, with Ousmane Dembele also currently out of action with a thigh injury.
The injury to Suarez will put more pressure on Antoine Griezmann in the club’s chase for trophies this season, with Valverde now likely to deploy the Frenchman in a more central position.
It also represents another issue for the manager who is under pressure at the Nou Camp with questions being raised over his future at the club.
Valverde was booed by supporters on Thursday night following the club’s exit in the Spanish Super Cup against Atletico Madrid.
His job is under heavy scrutiny with many people expecting him to leave the club by the end of the season at the latest.
Barcelona directors Oscar Grau and Eric Abidal have met with club legend Xavi, while Ronald Koeman, Ajax coach Erik Ten Hag and River Plate manager Marcelo Gallardo have all been linked with the job as well.