Paco Alcacer will miss next weekend’s Clasico after being taken off injured during Barcelona’s 4-0 win against Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday.
After an impressive cameo off the bench at Villarreal last week, Alcacer was named in Ernesto Valverde’s starting lineup for Barca’s penultimate game of the year.
However, he was forced off after just 20 minutes of the game gone at Camp Nou with a muscle injury and replaced by Aleix Vidal.
“Alcacer will be out for three weeks after picking up a muscular injury in his left leg in the first half of the game at Camp Nou in the league against Deportivo,” Barca confirmed in a brief statement.
A €30 million signing from Valencia last year, Alcacer has made 12 appearances for Barca this season, scoring 12 goals.
Valverde acknowledged the “setback” and will now have to decide how to complement Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi in attack against Real Madrid next Saturday, with Ousmane Dembele still sidelined.
“It’s a setback that we didn’t expect. Overall the game turned out well but’s a real shame about Paco,” Valverde said.
“But we’re going into [the Clasico ] happy. We have a week to prepare for the game and the best way to approach the Madrid match was to put in the kind of performance we had today, secure three points and boost confidence and morale.
“We are in good shape but we know that we are in for a complicated game against a huge rival. We’ll prepare for it well because we are determined to put in a good performance.”
Gerard Deulofeu is also out injured, so Barca may once again go with a four-man midfield, with Paulinho joining the usual trio of Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and Andres Iniesta.
Barca’s comfortable win over Depor moved them six points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid, who leapfrogged Valencia, beaten at Eibar, on Saturday.