The ‘fallow’ that Memphis Depay could have saved

BarcelonaThe arrival of Memphis Depay in Barcelona brought the concept closer to many Barça fans flow. His presentation was an exercise in charisma: gray dress, white shirt and the club’s social media sharing the lion’s head tattooed (almost life-size) on his back. Lion’s heart is the expression used by the communications department to promote his signing. The Dutch striker has finally rejoined Barça after a frustrated first attempt due to financial issues. Memphis has lost his contract with Olympique de Lyon in order to come to Barça for free and play under one of his main defenders, Ronald Koeman.

The glamor that distilled on the day of its presentation soon moved onto the lawn. In the first game he did not score, but served, with a free kick, the pass of the first goal to Piqué and contributed to the thrashing of Real Sociedad (4-2). In the next game, in San Mamés, he rescued a point with the goal of the tie (1-1). On the third day, against Getafe, after a great individual play, he signed the second and final goal, which broke the tie (2-1).

But the storm would soon arrive for the Koeman set. The team started to get stuck in the league and conceded two hard goals in the Champions League against Bayern and Benfica. Barça did not roll and the Memphis aura began to fade, farther and farther away from the goal, although it was still approaching from the penalty spot. From his effervescent touchdown, he was questioned, and the footballer, who was playing everything, began to run out of batteries from the time of the game. From the Barça Sports City, in Sant Joan Despí, it was admitted that he was “physically out”.

Every minute until you get injured

Despite declining performance at the end of the game, Memphis, who had played in the European Championship in the summer, played the entire first 16 league games and played every minute of the Champions League group stage except 15. None another member of the squad had played as much as he did, nor was the player himself used to having as much trouble at the beginning of the course. In Lyon, last season and with a more midfield role, he did not complete six of the first nine league games, although he came from a knee injury. The previous three years in France had not been as important at the start of the campaign as at Barça. On December 9, after playing against Bayern in Germany, the club reported that he had injured his biceps femoris in his left thigh.

Memphis would play again on January 8 against Granada: he played the last 29 minutes. The next match was the Super Cup against Real Madrid, in which he played 42 minutes (counting overtime) and ended up with muscle problems in the same thigh. The club’s medical statement said he had an overload on his left thigh hamstrings. “He’s a little resentful,” Xavi said in the preview of the Copa duel in San Mamés. Since then, he has not played again. In Sant Joan Despí they attribute these inconveniences as a result of a “mismanagement” of the minutes he played in the first part of the season. “The urgency with the team and with the club made him play more than recommended,” they admit.

A frequent injury

“The hamstring injury is the most common in football. It has been estimated that it affects around 25% of players over the course of a season,” said Jordi Vicens, a physical trainer at the SportClínic clinic in Girona. linked to the world of football. “Risk factors are taken into account in sports injuries. Some of them are not modifiable, such as age or previous injuries in the same area, and others are more modifiable factors, linked to strength. or neuromuscular aspects, which is where concepts such as workload control come into play, a factor that also has to do with the player’s position, “said Vicens, who is also a professor at UVic-UCC. In this sense, Memphis is an attacker, which makes him more prone to this type of muscle problem, because “they appear more often when sprints and forwards, but especially the ends and sides, are exposed to this type of effort.” .

Memphis’ hard-working musculature, however, had nothing to do with the injury. “In fact, the muscles help to tolerate the loads of the matches,” defends Vicens. The specialist puts the magnifying glass on the first injury in Memphis: “Relapses or discomfort in football must be taken into account. In the return to competition there are many factors that affect decisions: from physical factors to the extra-sporting ones, such as the need for the team or the pressures of the coach or the player himself. ” In the derby against Espanyol, Memphis will not be there yet and could reappear against Napoli. “We will not take any risks,” they say, cautiously, from the Sports City, although it is not ruled out that the footballer may arrive at the event. While it is true that with Xavi the role of the Dutchman will be declining compared to what he had with Koeman, the coach wants to count on him as a more attacking resource.

At the same time, the Camp Nou offices are interested in the striker having a good final stretch of the season and being able to draw with a footballer who arrived at zero cost. A market logic that also applies with Braithwaite, although in this case it cost 18 million. The Dane, who was already called up on the last day, is now ready to have his first minutes after the knee injury that has sidelined him since mid-October. Eric Garcia will also be available for the derby: the Catalan central midfielder will be discharged before the match.



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