Barcelona 'suffer massive injury blow' with key player 'ruled out' of Man Utd clash
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Barcelona have been dealt a major blow following reports that Sergio Busquets has been ruled out of their Europa League clash with Manchester United.
The Red Devils travel to the Camp Nou for the first leg of their last 16 tie in a highly intriguing contest on Thursday evening.
Barca haven't lost a match since being knocked out of the Champions league by Bayern Munich 3-0 in October, and sit 11 points clear of Real Madrid in La Liga.
Meanwhile, United have lost just once since the World Cup concluded and sit third in the Premier League, five points adrift of league leaders Arsenal having played two extra games.
Busquets 'ruled out' of Man Utd clash
The absence of the vastly experienced Busquets will come as a boost to many Red Devils fans, but Spanish journalist Adria Albets reported that he is in contention to start the second leg.
Albets tweeted: "Busquets ruled out for Thursday's game against United.
"The idea is that he has minutes on Sunday against Cádiz and arrives at Old Trafford in the best condition."
In his absence, Frenkie de Jong is likely to have to occupy the deep lying midfield position.
The 25-year-old was rumoured with a move to Old Trafford last summer after his place in the squad became in jeopardy.
However, De Jong insisted he wanted to stay and fight for his place under Xavi, which he has done so successfully, starting 14 of 18 games in La Liga this season.
Who is available to play for Man Utd?
Meanwhile, Ten Hag is dealing with several midfield absentees himself. Christian Eriksen and Scott McTomiany are sidelined through injury.
Whilst new signing Marcel Sabitzer is suspended after picking up a yellow card in Bayern Munich's final group stage match in the Champions League, keeping him out of their match against PSG.
Referencing UEFA's website rule 52.03, yellow card suspensions are carried over from one competition to another. Consequently, Sabitzer will be suspended for United's clash with Barcelona.
However, there is some good news for United fans, as Casemiro is available for selection.
The Brazilian picked up a suspension in the Premier League after being sent off in a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace on February 14.
However, FA suspensions do not carry over to European competitions, meaning Casemiro is eligible to play.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: Barcelona, Sergio Busquets, Manchester United, Erik Ten Hag, Xavi, Europa League, Football, Frenkie De Jong