FC Barcelona confirmed today that Sergiño Dest is still out of action due to a minor back problem that kept him out of the latest World Cup qualifiers, and will not be available for new coach Xavi’s first game tonight.
The American was was forced to miss Barcelona’s last two games before the break along with both of the USA’s qualifying games last week, with what the club earlier described as lower back pain.
According to media reports, he missed their training session on Friday, the last before their derby match against Espanyol Barcelona on Saturday night, and was indeed not included in the squad released by the club on Saturday morning.
While he was sidelined from action during the international break, it was an eventful time for Dest back in Barcelona; the team confirmed Xavi as the new coach after Ronald Koeman was fired, and then promptly brought in veteran right back Dani Alves.
Alves was a free agent after having a salary dispute with Brazilian team São Paolo, and will be available to play for the Blaugrana in 2022.
In the meantime, the 38 year-old club legend, who spent eight seasons in Barcelona between 2008-2016, spoke highly of the young American during recent interviews, stating that Dest “has everything to be one of the best in the world.”
The hope is that the experienced Alves will act as a mentor for the USMNT starter, something which he committed to doing, stating “I will try to help him as much as I can,” and clarifying, “We will try to make him understand how things should be done here and we will help him to understand the style of play we want.”
Currently, Barcelona are a disappointing ninth place in the La Liga standings as the new coach begins his tenure. After Saturday’s derby, the next opportunity for Dest to take the field will next Tuesday for their critical home game in the Champions League versus Benfica, or four days later when they visit Villarreal.