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Barcelona defender picks up ankle injury during international duty

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(Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Barcelona’s recent purple patch has been achieved through a collective effort all over the field. The defensive regrouping, however, has been critical for the same.

Ronald Araujo and Pau Cubarsi have taken over as the Catalans’ first-choice centre-backs, striking up a good partnership at the back. Andreas Christensen has also stepped up and is enjoying life as a pivot, helping Xavi’s cause.

Jules Kounde’s return to form and improvement at right-back, however, can only be described as the most important change of them all. The Frenchman has been in imperious form in recent games, completely neutralising opposition threat down the right.

A potential blow

Kounde is currently on duty with the French National Team for what is the final international break before the end of the season.

Last night, he started for Les Bleus against Germany in an international friendly. In 61 minutes on the field, he completed 80% of his passes and made one key pass and three defensive actions for Didier Deschamps’ men.

Kounde’s injury appears to be a minor one (Photo by OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE/AFP via Getty Images)

While he was taken off in what appeared to be a routine substitution past the hour mark, French journalist Saber Desfarges reports that the Barcelona defender suffered a blow to his ankle forcing the change.

The blow, however, does not appear serious and should not affect Kounde’s participation for Barcelona after the international break as it stands. It remains to be seen if Deschamps counts on him for France’s second game of the hiatus against Chile.

Big tests coming

While an official confirmation of the blow is yet to be made, Barcelona will be relieved if Kounde’s setback is indeed a minor blow.

After all, Blaugranas stare at a gruelling schedule after the return of club football and Kounde’s presence is fundamental for the coming games.

Barcelona take on PSG in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal in less than three weeks, and the Frenchman could well be the one tasked with marking Kylian Mbappe on the night.

Losing Kounde at such a stage would thus be devastating for Barcelona and Xavi, and the club will hope his injury is indeed as minor as reported.

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