There have been growing concerns at Barcelona about the back problem bothering second captain Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
The 31-year-old superstar missed the last three games for his club due to a lower back issue after the same problem saw him miss Germany’s two international friendly fixtures last month.
There had been hope initially that the problem would be resolved soon through conservative treatment, but with the recovery going much slower than expected, the option of surgery had been put on the table.
Now, SPORT’s Toni Juanmarti is reporting that Barcelona and Ter Stegen have made the decision and that the goalkeeper will now undergo surgery to correct his back problem.
Ter Stegen wanted to take his time and gather all the information on the matter before giving the final OK for surgery.
It was not only a question of digesting that an operation was the most effective solution, but also of choosing which doctor to do it with, where, and when.
Barça respected the 2-3 extra days that the goalkeeper asked for to give it a final thought before he formally informed that he would undergo surgery.
In the last few hours, after evaluating it together with his trusted staff and the German national team, the goalkeeper has come to the conclusion that the most pragmatic thing to do is to undergo surgery.
Ter Stegen unlikely to return until February 2024
As suspected earlier, Ter Stegen is now expected to be out for 2-3 months, which comes as a major blow for Barcelona.
It means that the 31-year-old will miss the Spanish Super Cup, several La Liga games, and the early parts of the Copa del Rey.
Beyond that, there is also a doubt about his readiness for Barcelona’s UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first-leg clash, which will take place either on 13-14 or 20-21 February.
As of now, Barcelona are not planning on signing a new goalkeeper to deal with the situation, with trust being put in Inaki Pena. It remains to be seen if things change in the weeks to come.