Barcelona's Alba tests positive for COVID-19

By Sports Desk December 28, 2021

Barcelona have announced that defender Jordi Alba has tested positive for COVID-19.

The left-back must now self-isolate, making him unlikely to be able to travel to face Mallorca on January 2 for Barca's next LaLiga game.

The 32-year-old becomes the third Barca defender to be sidelined with COVID-19, joining fellow full-back Dani Alves and centre-back Clement Lenglet.

Barca's official statement read: "First-team player Jordi Alba has tested positive for COVID-19, ruling him out of Tuesday afternoon's training session at Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper from 6pm CET.

"The player is in good health and self-isolating at home. The club has reported the case to the relevant authorities.

"He joins Clement Lenglet and Dani Alves on the sidelines, who also tested positive for COVID-19."

Xavi must now consider how to replace Alba in the side as he looks to steer Barca out of seventh place in the table and into the Champions League spots, with Rayo Vallecano two points ahead of them in fourth.

Only Sergio Busquets, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Memphis Depay and Frenkie de Jong have played more minutes across all competitions than Alba's 1,526, highlighting his importance to the team.

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    De Jong scored the sixth goal in the rout, coming off the bench at half-time and finding the net in the 84th minute.

    He has been one of the main names featured in transfer rumours this off-season, with Barcelona's questionable finances making it seem like the club would have to part ways with the 25-year-old Dutch international to fund their sizeable moves for Leeds United winger Raphinha, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde.

    However, having been outspoken about his desire to remain at Camp Nou, it now seems more likely he will not be sold during this transfer window, with Laporta saying before the match against Pumas that it is what both parties want.

    "Frenkie is our player and we want him to stay at Barcelona," he said. "He wants to stay, too.

    "With him and his teammates, we have a very powerful midfield. He has offers, but we want him to stay."

    After the match, Xavi was less emphatic about De Jong's future when interviewed by TV3, but insisted that he's "counting on" the midfielder this season.

    "I don’t know what will happen to Frenkie, as until August 31st anything can happen," he said.

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    Barcelona will open their LaLiga campaign at home against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.

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