Barcelona's Samuel Umtiti ruled out Clasico after hamstring injury
BARCELONA -- Samuel Umtiti will miss the Clasico against Real Madrid later this month after Barcelona confirmed he will be out for eight weeks with a torn hamstring.
Umtiti pulled up on the touchline as he competed for the ball with Iago Aspas in Barca's 2-2 La Liga draw against Celta Vigo at Camp Nou on Saturday.
As Aspas raced away, setting up Maxi Gomez for his side's equaliser, Umtiti signalled to the bench that he would be unable to continue.
Thomas Vermaelen, who had started Barca's last two games, replaced the France international.
Barca have since confirmed that Umtiti will be out of action for the next two months, with coach Ernesto Valverde telling his postmatch news conference: "To lose a player like Samuel is a blow.
"He was in a great moment of form."
Reflecting on the game, he added: "It was a well-fought game but it's two points dropped.
"They started well and we struggled to get into the game in the first 15, 20 minutes. We woke up after their goal and got the equaliser. From there, we began to dominate the game and in the second half got ourselves in front.
"It looked more like 3-1 than 2-1 but then came that unfortunate moment, the injury to Samuel. We had chances to win the game, but it wasn't to be. That's football sometimes.
"We had chances to go 3-1 up. That moment [the injury and equaliser] has cost us two points. In normal circumstances you have an extra defender.
"Samuel had to pull out of the race. But we still tried. We had Pique hitting the post, Paco Alcacer's header, Paulinho and Leo's chances...
"It was an accumulation of bad luck in the same play. There was the goal and the injury. The game was there."
With Javier Mascherano still sidelined with a hamstring strain picked up on international duty, Valverde is left with just two fit central defenders in Vermaelen and Gerard Pique.
Barca B's David Costas, who made his first-team debut in the Copa del Rey win over Real Murcia in midweek, is also an option.
Sporting Lisbon are next up for Valverde's side in the Champions League at the Camp Nou on Tuesday, although they can afford to field their fringe players with top spot already wrapped up.
Forthcoming league games away at Villarreal (Dec. 10), at home to Deportivo La Coruna (Dec. 17) and away to Madrid (Dec. 23) will carry far bigger concerns, however.
Umtiti has been in fine form this season and has arguably been Barca's move impressive centre-back.
Pique, meanwhile, has had an up-and-down season, while Vermaelen has made just three starts following a series of major injuries since joining in 2014.
Celta took the lead through Aspas before goals from Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez looked to have set Barca on their way to another three points.
But Gomez's second-half goal earned a point for the Galicians as Juan Carlos Unzue, Luis Enrique's former assistant, made a successful return to Catalonia.
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.