France has already lost one defender this year due to injury in Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma, so another extended injury could really hurt the team’s backline ahead of this summer’s 2016 European Championship.
This season, Mathieu has started 12 matches for the league leaders. The loss of the Frenchman could be critical in Barcelona’s run at a treble, given their lack of options at left back. While Jordi Alba has been ruled fit enough to play in this weekend’s El Clasico vs. Real Madrid, the Catalan side lacks depth behind Alba and Mathieu.
Thomas Vermaelen could see an increased role down the stretch depending on the length of Mathieu’s absence. The former Arsenal defender has primarily played as a central defender throughout his career, however, he is versatile enough to fill in on the wings if necessary.
Catch up on all of this weekend’s action from Spain and Italy’s top flights.
Real Madrid 5-0 Real Betis
After a disappointing scoreless draw to open the season, Real Madrid got back on track with a 5-0 thrashing of Real Betis. Gareth Bale scored two goals and Karim Benzema added one as well, but the man of the match was James Rodriguez. James assisted on Bale’s first, buried a brilliant free kick, and scored on a bicycle kick, creating a personal highlight reel in just 90 minutes.
Sevilla 0-3 Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid is yet to concede a goal through two matches, defeating Sevilla 3-0 to remain unbeaten and unscored upon. Koke put Atletico ahead in the first half before Gabi had a shot deflected past the keeper to double the lead in the 78th minute. Jackson Martinez sealed the win with beautiful strike from distance, the Colombian’s first goal for the club since joining from Porto.
Barcelona 1-0 Malaga
Barcelona failed to score a goal against Malaga and took just one point from two matches last year, but squeaked out close 1-0 victory over the South coast side this weekend. Thomas Vermaelen was the surprise goalscorer for the defending European champs, as the former Arsenal center-back fired home a volley with less than 20 minutes to play to take all three points.
Elsewhere in La Liga
Villarreal 3-1 Espanyol
Real Sociedad 0-0 Sporting Gijon
Celta Vigo 3-0 Rayo
Eibar 2-0 Athletic Bilbao
Valencia 1-1 Deportivo
Las Palmas 0-0 Levante
Getafe 1-2 Granada
After losing three matches all of last season, Juventus has opened up the new campaign with two straight losses, falling to Roma 2-1 earlier today. Goals from Miralem Pjanic and Edin Dzeko downed Juve, who were forced to ten men when Patrice Evra was sent off in the second half. Far from a dream start for the team that was a win away from the treble last season.
AC Milan 2-1 Empoli
Summer signings Carlos Bacca and Luiz Adriano both scored for AC Milan, as the Rossoneri got their first Serie A win under Sinisa Mihajlovic. Depsite the result, the new manager was not pleased with his side’s performance, saying “The result is the only thing to salvage, nothing else. I saw the players too tense and frightened. Courage and personality was lacking from my players. We won, but I feel like I have lost.” Harsh words after taking all three points.
Napoli 2-2 Sampdoria
Maurizio Sarri has yet to find a win as Napoli manager, after losing to Sassuolo last week and drawing Sampdoria this weekend 2-2. Gonzalo Higuain scored twice in the first half to give Napoli a 2-0 lead, but Sampdoria striker Eder scored two goals in two minutes in the second half to climb back for a draw.
Elsewhere in Serie A
Carpi 1-2 Inter Milan
Bologna 0-1 Sassuolo
Udinese 0-1 Palermo
Torino 3-1 Fiorentina
Chievo 4-0 Lazio
Atalanta 2-0 Frosinone
Genoa 2-0 Verona
Barcelona released its 24-man roster for its upcoming International Champions Cup tour of the United States, and there are two very big names not present.
Four-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi and Brazilian superstar Neymar are both missing from the roster, while Uruguayan attacker Luis Suarez does make the trip and young German goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen will end his offseason early to highlight the 24 players.
Messi is currently vacationing in Turks & Caicos after losing in the finals of the Copa America, while Neymar was last seen in Las Vegas hanging out with Michael Jordan.
The strike pair aren’t the only notable names missing from the roster. Messi’s Argentina teammate Javier Mascherano is also a no-show, as is Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo. Meanwhile, new signings Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal, who aren’t eligible to play competitively until January, will be on the flight across the Atlantic.
Highly rated Croatian midfielder Alen Halilovic, plus teammates Jose Suarez, Samper, and Gumbau are the four Barcelona B players who earned a call-up to the trip.
Barcelona will begin its ICC tour with a match against Steven Gerrard and the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Rose Bowl on Wednesday, July 22. They then head just north to Santa Clara to take on Manchester United, before games against Chelsea and Fiorentina up to the end of August. They’ll return home to the Nou Camp for a friendly against AS Roma before their season starts in the European Supercup against Sevilla on August 11.
FULL BARCELONA SQUAD: Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Masip, Jose Suarez, Aleix Vidal, Douglas, Gerard Pique, Marc Bartra, Thomas Vermaelen, Mathieu, Adriano, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Samper, Ivan Rakitic, Sergi Roberto, Gumbau, Andres Iniesta, Halilovic, Arda Turan, Rafinha, Pedro, Munir, Luis Suarez, Sandro.