Injured Barcelona defender ‘expected’ to return for El Clasico, could start at right-back

As we get closer and closer to the first El Clasico of the 2022/23 season, contrasting reports continue to emerge on the injury situation at Barcelona.

The Blaugrana will take on Real Madrid in the top-of-the-table clash at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday. In the lead-up to the game, the Catalan giants are going through a bit of an injury crisis as several key players are sidelined.

Ronald Araujo is certain to miss the trip to Real Madrid while question marks remain over the availability of the likes of Andreas Christensen, Hector Bellerin, Memphis Depay and Franck Kessie, all of whom will be unavailable for the Inter Milan clash tomorrow.

Jules Kounde is also currently out of action for Barcelona after sustaining a thigh injury while on international duty last month. There have been contradicting claims emerging over his recovery ahead of the Clasico.

Earlier it was reported that the 23-year-old would recover and be ready in time for the trip to Madrid. But, more recently, reports suggested that his availability for the vital clash was ‘very complicated’.

Now, though, another report from SPORT claims that Kounde is ‘expected’ to return to the starting lineup for Barcelona against Real Madrid on Sunday.

It is further claimed that the 23-year-old will be lining up as the right-back on the day, to tackle the threat posed by in-form Los Blancos’winger, Vinicius Jr.

Kounde, as per the report, has been pushing himself to recover at the earliest possible. And while the Blaugrana do not wish to risk the Frenchman for the monumental clash against Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League, they expect the defender to be ready for El Clasico.

Having joined Barcelona from Sevilla this past summer, Kounde has quickly grown into a key player for Xavi. Be it at right-back or centre-back, the former Bordeaux ace has performed well.

His potential return for the match against Real Madrid would be a huge boost for Barça as they look to retain the top spot in the La Liga standings.

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