Koundé in doubt for Clásico as Barca injury worries mount

Martino laughs off Messi's rumoured loan to Barcelona (0:37)

Gerardo Martino plays down speculation about Lionel Messi returning to Barcelona on loan in January. (0:37)

Defender Jules Koundé is a major doubt to face Real Madrid after injuring his knee as Barcelona's fitness problems continue to mount ahead of this month's Clásico (Stream LIVE: Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, Saturday 10/28, 10:05 a.m. ET, ESPN+).

Koundé was forced off in the first half of Sunday's 2-2 draw with Granada and tests on Monday confirmed he has sprained ligaments in his knee.

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Barça have not revealed how long he will be sidelined, but sources have told ESPN it's likely to be around a month. The Catalan side are set to play LaLiga leaders Madrid on Oct. 28.

Coach Xavi Hernandez is already without Pedri, Frenkie de Jong, Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski, who all sat out the Granada game.

Pedri, who has not played since August, is closest to returning after the international break but none of the injured quartet are guaranteed to be back for the Clásico.

De Jong and Lewandowski both have ankle sprains, while Raphinha is out with a hamstring problem. All three are rated as touch-and-go for the Madrid game.

Barça have also confirmed that Lamine Yamal has a minor thigh injury, although it will not prevent him from joining up with the Spain squad this week.

Yamal, who became LaLiga's youngest ever goal scorer against Granada at 16 years and 87 days old, will do recovery work with the national team in the hope of being available for this week's Euro 2024 qualifiers against Scotland and Norway.

Barça now have two weeks without a game before hosting Athletic Bilbao at the Olympic Stadium on Aug. 22, with home matches to follow against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League and Madrid in LaLiga in the same week.

Sunday's draw at Granada saw Xavi's side slip three points behind Madrid, who beat Osasuna 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.

LaLiga's surprise package Girona separate the two Clásico rivals in the table, two points behind Madrid and one point ahead of Barça.

Madrid will be without long-term absentees Thibaut Courtois and Éder Militão when they travel to Barça at the end of the month, while Nacho Fernandez will also be suspended. David Alaba is expected to be available again by then.