Barcelona midfielder Arthur Melo has been ruled out of action for up to four weeks with a hamstring injury and will thusly miss two trips to Madrid.
The Brazilian superstar has enjoyed a stellar debut season at the Camp Nou, featuring in 26 matches across all competitions after earning the trust of club boss Ernesto Valverde with his consistency.
After joining the Spanish giants from Gremio last summer the 22-year-old was handed the number eight shirt previously worn by club legend Andreas Iniesta and he has embraced that honour admirably.
Arthur has played a key role in Barca’s assault on three trophy fronts this season and he was gearing up for a huge month of fixtures which included back-to-back Clasico’s against Real Madrid, but unfortunately, he has now been sidelined.
According to an official statement from Barcelona on Friday, Arthur will be unavailable for selection for three or four weeks while he recovers from a hamstring issue, which represents a major blow for Valverde.
[INJURY NEWS] Tests carried out have confirmed that the first team player Arthur Melo has a left hamstring injury. He is expected to be out for around 3-4 weeks. pic.twitter.com/tYpNvlufsM
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 8, 2019
The in-form Brazil international will now miss La Liga games against Athletic Bilbao, Real Valladolid, Sevilla and Real Madrid, while he will also be unable to feature against Los Blancos in the second leg of their Copa Del Rey semifinal on February 27.
Crucially Arthur will also be sitting out Barca’s last-16 Champions League first leg against Lyon, but he should at least be back in time to play the second leg in the middle of the March.
Fortunately, Valverde has a squad full of top quality players to choose from and for now, a short-term replacement for Arthur should be drafted into the line-up simply enough, but his impact in the middle of the pitch will be sorely missed.
Arthur’s most likely return date is March 10, when the Blaugrana host Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou in La Liga, hoping to maintain their lead at the top of the table.