Barcelona's Dembele out for up to four months

AP
Barcelona's record signing Ousmane Dembele is set to be sidelined for up to four months as the club confirmed the extent of the leg injury he suffered at Getafe on Saturday.
AP
Reuters

Paulinho (center) celebrates with teammates scoring the Barcelona's second goal against Getafe during their Spanish league match at Coliseum Alfonso Perez in Getafe on September 16, 2017. Barcelona won 2-1.

Barcelona will be without Ousmane Dembele, the most expensive signing in the history of the Spanish club, for at least three months after he tore a tendon in his right thigh that will require surgery.

Barcelona said on Sunday that Dembele will be sidelined for three to four months after he injured his leg during the first half of Saturday's 2-1 win at Getafe in the Spanish league.

The club said that the 20-year-old Dembele will travel to Finland next week to undergo surgery by Dr Sakari Orava.

The match in Madrid was the France forward's third appearance for Barcelona.

Last month, Barcelona paid Borussia Dortmund 105 million euros (US$124 million) in a deal for Dembele that included possible add-ons that could add an additional 40 percent of the fee, meaning the final cost could reach 147 million euros.

Dembele was brought in to replace Neymar after the Brazil striker bolted for Paris Saint-Germain on a world-record move of 222 million euros.

The 20-year-old is now set to miss the rest of Barcelona's UEFA Champions League group campaign and faces a race against time to take part in the first Clasico of the season against Real Madrid on December 23.

At international level, Dembele will also be absent for France's final two World Cup qualifiers away to Bulgaria and at home to Belarus next month.

After losing the Spanish Super Cup to Real Madrid, Barcelona has made an excellent start to the season under new coach Ernesto Valverde. It has won its first four matches in the Spanish league and beat Juventus in its UCL opener.

On Saturday, Barcelona snatched a late 2-1 win at Getafe with Paulinho's strike sending it seven points clear of arch-rival Real at the top of La Liga.

Widely criticized

The Brazilian midfielder's signing was widely criticized by supporters but he ran on to Lionel Messi's pass, drove into the area and fired home with six minutes remaining to preserve Barcelona's 100-percent record in the league.

Later, Atletico Madrid celebrated the inauguration of its new stadium with a 1-0 win over Malaga, Antoine Griezmann's 60th-minute goal delighting the sell-out Wanda Metropolitano.

At the Coliseum Alfonso Perez, Gaku Shibasaki scored a magnificent volley to put Getafe ahead in the 39th minute but another substitute, Denis Suarez, equalized for Barcelona in the 62nd.

"It's important for them (Suarez and Paulinho) from a personal point of view. It gives them confidence," said Barcelona coach Valverde.

"Them scoring shows that the squad has depth and that we have a lot of players who can contribute. Both of them get forward and they both have goals in them."

Suarez was introduced at halftime, after captain Andres Iniesta had made little impact, and soon made his presence felt.

Receiving the ball from Sergi Roberto in the area, Suarez curled a neat finish past Guaita to level, against the run of play.

Paulinho came on in the 77th and seven minutes later he slammed home to put Barcelona ahead and extend its lead at the top of the table.

"Those are my qualities, arriving from deep to score goals. I am really happy with the pass from Leo and with the winning goal," said Paulinho.

At the Metropolitano, an opening ceremony involving parachutists and reminders of Atletico's history and previous homes, including the Vicente Calderon, gave way to a tight match.

Bottom-of-the-table Malaga held its own but eventually Atletico's pressure told, with Angel Correa beating his man on the right and crossing for Griezmann to fire home from close range.

Champion Real, which lies 11th, was traveling to second-placed Real Sociedad later on Sunday.

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