Barcelona Starlet Ansu Fati Out vs. Alaves with Hip Injury

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 20, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 18: Anssumane Fati of FC Barcelona looks on during the Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at Camp Nou on December 18, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona youngster Ansu Fati will not feature in the home fixture against Alaves on Saturday because of a hip injury.

The Blaugrana confirmed on Friday that Fati, 17, won't be part of the squad at the Camp Nou, where Barca can temporarily establish a three-point lead over Real Madrid in La Liga:

FC Barcelona @FCBarcelona

LATEST NEWS❗️ @ANSUFATI has a hip contusion. He is out and his recovery will determine his availability. https://t.co/sgkST3TRmB

The two rivals are level on 36 points at the summit after they drew 0-0 in Catalonia on Wednesday in the first Clasico of the campaign.

Fati came on for a cameo appearance in the goalless stalemate, becoming the youngest player to appear in El Clasico since the turn of the century, per AS.

The Spain under-21 international made his first-team debut as a substitute when they defeated Real Betis 5-2 in August, becoming the second-youngest player to represent the Catalan giants.

As if that weren't impressive enough, his match-winner against Inter Milan during the UEFA Champions League group stage made him the youngest player to score in the competition:

Manager Ernesto Valverde has started Fati four times across all competitions this season, mostly looking to the starlet as a second-half substitute.

Journalist Pete Jenson appeared on Premier Sports prior to Wednesday's Clasico and spoke of the teenager's ability to make an impact off the bench:

Premier Sports 📺 @PremierSportsTV

🗣 Ahead of #ElClasico, @Q1QE22 & @petejenson talk... 👉 Ansu Fati 👉 Importance of a strong bench 📺 Watch Viva LaLiga live now on LaLigaTV, via Premier Player https://t.co/zLZkU5HWKH

Valverde will likely retain Antoine Griezmann on the left flank on Saturday, with winger Ousmane Dembele also sidelined after he suffered a thigh injury in late November, per BBC Sport. Carles Perez, 21, is another option who could switch from his usual spot on the right flank.

Alaves don't look likely to pose much of a problem for Barcelona considering they are on a three-game winless run and have lost all but two of their eight away league fixtures this season.

Saturday's clash is Barcelona's last of 2019, with Fati's next opportunity to return being their derby visit to Espanyol on January 4.