Samuel Umtiti will most likely miss El Clásico, but Barcelona are expecting to be able to count on Javier Mascherano as the pivotal match against Real Madrid nears. For now, the only fit centerbacks are Gerard Piqué and Thomas Vermaelen, which is a bit of an alarm as Vermaelen has struggled to remain injury-free for a while now.
However, Mascherano’s return is expected about a week before the match against Madrid, which is on December 23rd. In fact, Masche could be back in time to pick up some minutes in the preceding game to shake off some rust.
Until then, Barcelona are short on cover to say the least. David Costas, the B team defender, is someone Ernesto Valverde supposedly rates, but he’s yet to play for the senior team. Another option is to put Lucas Digne in the role.
In any case, there is optimism in Catalonia that Mascherano will be available for selection soon.