In yet another setback to what has been a difficult two months, USMNT star Sergiño Dest is amongst a trio of Barcelona players set to miss time due to a positive COVID test.

Barcelona announced the positive test for the American through a tweet on Thursday morning, along with similar results for important Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho and Moroccan youngster Abde Ezzalzouli.

“Sergiño Dest, [Philippe] Coutinho and [Ezzalzouli] Abde positive for COVID-19” the announcement read, also reassuring readers that the players seem to be avoiding any more severe effects, “The players are in good health and self-isolating at home.”

This comes at a critical juncture for both Barcelona and Dest, with the team set to embark on what might be their busiest run of games in the foreseeable future. Beginning with their visit to Mallorca on January 2, they have a minimum of six, with possibly as many as eight games scheduled over the next 21 days in all competitions, dependent upon their performance in two knock-out competitions (Copa del Rey and Supercopa de España).

For Dest, who has missed all but three of Barcelona’s games since early-November with a pair of injuries and possible selection choices by new head coach Xavi, this busy period was representing a perfect opportunity to work back into fitness before heading stateside in late-January for a trio of World Cup qualifying matches.

No indication was given by the team for his expected return, however it is likely that he will at least miss their Sunday visit to Mallorca as well as their visit to Linares Deportivo three days later in the third round of the Copa del Rey.

COVID-related absences have been a mounting issue for Americans in Spain recently. Alaves defender Matt Miazga was isolated for four league and cup games in Deecember due to a positive test, however the team confirmed his return to full training earlier this week.

More recently, Tenerife confirmed on Wednesday that defender Shaq Moore had also tested positive, and thus will also miss their return to La Liga 2 action on Sunday, an archipelago-derby against UD Las Palmas.

By David Smith

I'm YA's resident doctor, but not the kind of doctor you would want giving you an examination anywhere outside of a lecture hall. I've been YA's feet-on-the-ground in Germany since 2008, have an affinity for overly verbose descriptions of irrelevant minutiae, keep an eye on YAs in most of the destinations on mainland Europe, and watch a whole lot of Serie A.

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