Thierry Henry and Andrés Iniesta face a fitness race ahead of FC Barcelona's UEFA Champions League final against Manchester United FC in Rome on 27 May, the French striker struggling with a knee ligament injury and the Spanish midfielder suffering a torn thigh muscle.
The Catalan club's medical team diagnosed a stretching of Henry's posterior ligament in his right knee, an injury sustained during the 6-2 Liga win at Real Madrid CF on 2 May. The 31-year-old was ruled out of the second leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final against Chelsea FC at Stamford Bridge as a result, a match from which Barça advanced with a 1-1 draw thanks to Iniesta's goal three minutes into added time, and the 3-3 Liga draw with Villarreal CF.
Henry will be definitely miss the upcoming league matches against RCD Mallorca and CA Osasuna plus the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Club Bilbao on Wednesday. According to the club's medical team, the player will "continue specific treatment" with the aim of appearing in the Rome showpiece. Henry has scored 19 goals in 29 league games this season, as well as striking five times in nine matches in Europe's premier club competition.
'I'll be there'
Iniesta finished the Villarreal encounter feeling pain and, after an initial examination, club medics confirmed the player had picked up a tear in his right thigh. The 24-year-old will miss the same matches as Henry but, after tests on Monday, he is confident he will be available for the meeting with United. "The doctor said that come what may I'll be there in Rome," said Iniesta. "The eagerness I have to play in the final will have a big affect [on my recovery]." Club doctor Richard Pruna added: "It's not the size [of the tear] that will dictate events but where it is located. Our objective is to have him playing in the final in Rome. We have to be optimistic."
Also out of the Copa del Rey final will be Eric Abidal who, after seeing red in the second leg against Chelsea, picked up another red card against the Yellow Submarine and is suspended. The news about Iniesta and Henry comes as a major blow for Josep Guardiola who already has Rafael Márquez out with a knee problem.
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