Barcelona are in Saudi Arabia getting ready for Thursday’s Spanish Super Cup semi-final against Osasuna, and two key pieces of the team are working against the clock to be ready to play: Pedri and João Cancelo are with the squad but haven’t been cleared yet, and manager Xavi Hernández gave a big hint about their potential availability.
The coach spoke to the press on Wednesday and was asked about the condition of Pedri, who has been out for the last three weeks with a hamstring injury, and Cancelo, who suffered a strained ligament in his knee last week. The initial reports said Pedri would miss the Supercopa entirely while Cancelo had a good chance to come back, but on the eve of Thursday’s match Xavi says the situation has flipped, and there’s a better than zero percent chance that Pedri will be ready to face Osasuna.
Xavi: "Cancelo and Pedri? We are more optimistic about Pedri. He's been feeling good for a few days. With Cancelo, I think it will be complicated tomorrow. We'll see how he feels today. But Pedri is the one who is closer."— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) January 10, 2024
The fact that Pedri has been ahead of schedule in his recovery is a big surprise since we have been used to seeing the midfielder take a lot longer than expected to return from each of his recent injuries, so that’s a welcome piece of good news if it means the player and the club have finally cracked the code on how to keep him healthy or at least avoid him missing too much time.
Cancelo doesn’t need to be rushed back until he’s 100% ready. Barça already dodged a bullet with what could have been a much more serious knee injury given the severity of the impact on the play that injured Cancelo, and the Supercopa is the least important of the four competitions Barça are playing for. Losing on Thursday or in Sunday’s final would hurt, but losing Cancelo for the season would hurt a lot worse.