Friday, March 24, 2023 at 5:28 PM• Jonathan van Haaster • Last update: 17:31

Frenkie de Jong is struggling with an injury to his right hamstring, Barcelona announced on Friday through the official channels. The midfielder was injured during the match against Real Madrid on Sunday, March 19. It remains to be seen how long he will be out of circulation.

“Tests have shown that Frenkie de Jong has an injury to his right hamstring,” reports Barcelona. “He is out and his recovery will determine when he is available again.” The injury is a major setback for Barcelona and the the Dutch, as De Jong was in excellent shape. The Dutch have to face France (Friday) and Gibraltar (Monday) without the technician, while Barcelona does not seem to have the Dutchman available for the duel with Elche on April 1. It is unclear whether De Jong will make it to the return of the semi-final of the Copa del Rey against Real Madrid. That game will take place on April 5.

“Of course that is a line through the bill,” said national coach Ronald Koeman during the press conference on Monday. “Frenkie is an important player for this team. He has some qualities that not many players have. But his absence does not mean that we will suddenly change the system, that would be strange. It will be something different, because the one who is now on Frenkie’s position shown has a different style of play.” A possible replacement for De Jong in midfield is Mats Wieffer, who has had an excellent season at Feyenoord and has been called up for the the Dutch squad for the first time.

The withdrawal of De Jong was certainly not the only setback for Koeman. In addition to the midfielder, Steven Bergwijn also had to drop out. The Ajax player is struggling with a knee injury. Koeman called up Donyell Malen and Joey Veerman as replacements, although the latter, like four others, has already gone home. Just like Sven Botman, Cody Gakpo, Matthijs de Ligt and Bart Verbruggen, the PSV midfielder suffered from food poisoning as a result of a bad chicken curry. Ryan Gravenberch and Kjell Scherpen were then transferred from the Dutch Juniors, while Stefan de Vrij was also allowed to report to the selection.