??Barcelona? centre back Thomas Vermaelen is facing a race against time to be fit for Belgium’s ?World Cup campaign after picking up a hamstring injury which has ruled the 32-year-old out of La Blaugrana’s final game of the season.
Vermaelen sustained the injury in the opening half hour of Barcelona’s only league defeat to date at the hands of Levante on Sunday, where the ?stunning 5-4 loss ensured Ernesto Valverde’s side failed to finish their top-flight campaign unbeaten with just one game remaining.
The 32-year-old undertook tests on Monday to determine the severity of the injury but Barcelona have yet to give an estimated return date, according to Barcelona’s website.
Vermaelen’s condition will come as a concern for Belgium and manager Roberto Martinez after the centre back played an important role in the country’s qualifying campaign. The Red Devils’ squad announcement is expected to take place on May 21.
?Sport expect Vermaelen to be sidelined for two to three weeks, but as the defender has seen his career plagued by injury in recent years, a cautious approach is likely ahead of an intense summer of competition.
The defender, who joined Barcelona from Arsenal in 2014 and is contracted until 2019, will also miss the club’s match in South Africa that form part of Nelson Mandela Centenary celebrations.
Barcelona are expected to arrive in South Africa on Wednesday morning before facing off against Mamelodi Sundowns in a friendly match on the same evening in Johannesburg, before flying back that evening to start preparations for their final league games against Real Sociedad on Sunday.