Barcelona confirm Jeremy Mathieu set for extended injury absence

Barcelona defender Jeremy Mathieu has been dealt another injury setback after the club confirmed he will be missing for up to 20 more days with a continued calf problem.

Mathieu, 32, has been out of action since the end of October when he first picked up the injury in the Catalan Super Cup defeat against Espanyol.

He was initially expected to return after the November international break and was back in training, but his absence from the squads for games against Celtic last week and Real Sociedad at the weekend raised questions.

"In the final phase of his recovery, first team player Jeremy Mathieu has suffered a relapse to the injury in his right calf and will be out for between 15 and 20 days," a club statement read on Wednesday.

It's been a year to forget in terms of injuries for Mathieu. The Frenchman has had a range of problems since suffering from a meniscus problem in his knee at the end of last season.

A knock to his calf then ruled him out of France's squad for the European Championship and he missed three weeks with a hamstring injury earlier this season.

It's unlikely he will play again this year, although he could return for the second leg of the Copa del Rey tie against Hercules towards the end of December.

Barca are also sweating on the fitness of Jordi Alba ahead of this weekend's game against Real Madrid. The left-back has brusing in his knee and a sprained ankle and is a major doubt for the Clasico.

In better news, Andres Iniesta will be available for the game against Zinedine Zidane's side, Luis Enrique confirmed on Tuesday. The midfielder has been out since October with knee ligament damage but has been back in training for a week.

Centre-back Samuel Umtiti is also available again and has been included in the squad for the first leg of the Copa del Rey game against Hercules on Wednesday.