Thierry Henry and Andrés Iniesta face a fitness race ahead of FC Barcelona’s UEFA Champions League final against Manchester United in Rome on 27 May. The French striker struggling with a knee ligament injury and the Spanish midfielder suffering a torn thigh muscle.
The Catalan club’s medical team diagnosed a stretching of Henry’s posterior ligament in his right knee, an injury sustained during the 6-2 Liga win at Real Madrid on 2 May. The 31-year-old was ruled out of the second leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge as a result, a match from which Barça advanced with a 1-1 draw thanks to Iniesta’s goal three minutes into added time, and the 3-3 Liga draw with Villarreal.
Henry will be definitely miss the upcoming league matches against Mallorca and Osasuna plus the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Club Bilbao on Wednesday. According to the club’s medical team, the player will “continue specific treatment” with the aim of appearing in the Rome showpiece. Henry has scored 19 goals in 29 league games this season, as well as striking five times in nine matches in Europe’s premier club competition.
Iniesta finished the Villarreal encounter feeling pain and, after an initial examination, club medics confirmed the player had picked up a tear in his right thigh. The 24-year-old will undergo further tests on Monday to determine the extent of the problem and will miss the same matches as Henry. Also out of the Copa del Rey final will be Eric Abidal who, after seeing red in the second leg against Chelsea, picked up another red card against the Yellow Submarine and is suspended.
The news comes as a major blow for Josep Guardiola who already has Rafael Márquez out with a knee problem. “[What happened to Iniesta] is the worst news of the day,” Guardiola said on Sunday evening. “He’s such an important player for us because he gives so much. Playing games every three days takes a huge effort. He’s definitely out for Wednesday and the idea is to have him ready for the Champions League final.”