Frenkie de Jong injury is crushing for Barcelona - midfield maestro makes Xavi's side tick

De Jong Xavi Felix Barcelona GFXGetty/GOAL

Barcelona should have little to complain about following their epic comeback win over Celta Vigo on Saturday. Trailing 2-0 at home after 82 minutes, they scored three times across the next eight to seize a 3-2 victory and move to the top of La Liga. This is, objectively, a good thing, the kind of victory that will come to be dubbed as ‘season-defining' if Xavi's side defend their domestic crown in 2023-24. And although Barca can have very few gripes right now, there was something discouraging in the way this was won.

Of course, the final scoreline is worth celebrating, but the nature of the comeback was worrying. Barca were erratic as they pushed for the winner. They were frantic without being controlled, incisive without being precise. They basically won thanks to three separate moments of undeniable quality that happened to come within a short spell.

And that chaos can be attributed to the absence of one critical player in centre-midfield. Frenkie de Jong, the kind of footballer built to metronomically break down an opponent, had limped off with an injury in the first half — and could now miss up to six weeks of action.

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Barca have endured their fair share of injuries already this season. Star defender Ronald Araujo is only now making his way back after missing a month of action, while midfield dynamo Pedri has not featured since the second week of the campaign. De Jong, though, might be the greatest loss of them all.

The once-written off Netherlands international has now become this team's most crucial component, and Barca simply will not be the same side without him in their ranks.