Barcelona goalkeeper Neto is expected to miss up to eight weeks of action after undergoing surgery on his left hand having suffered a fracture.
The 30-year-old arrived from Valencia this summer as Jasper Cillessen moved in the opposite direction, with the Brazilian shot-stopper expected to provide competition and cover for first-choice ‘keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
However, as noted by the club’s official site, he was forced to undergo surgery on Tuesday after suffering a fracture in his left wrist, an injury that is now set to keep him sidelined for between six and eight weeks.
That poses a real problem for coach Ernesto Valverde on the eve of the new La Liga season, as he lacks another senior and experienced option behind Ter Stegen moving forward.
Inaki Pena, 20, could be promoted from Barcelona B to help fill that void until Neto returns, but there will an anxious wait until then as they’ll hope that their top man between the posts can avoid any injury setbacks of his own which could pile the pressure on Pena to come in.
It’s hardly the news that Valverde needed just days before Barcelona kick-start the new campaign, as they travel to Athletic Bilbao on Friday night hoping to make a winning start to the defence of their league crown.
Further, it will be a major blow for Neto so soon in his bid to try and displace Ter Stegen, or at least put pressure on him to earn a more prominent role, as he’ll now spend a large part of the first half of the season in rehabilitation looking to make a full recovery after the procedure.