Hopes of having Ousmane Dembele for next week's El Clasico has been dashed by Barcelona Coach Ernesto Valverde.
Valverde suggests that Dembele will not be back for next weekend's Clasico despite returning to training this week.
Dembele has not played since rupturing a tendon against Getafe in September, initially ruling him out for four months.
Injury blow for Barcelona star ahead of El Clasico - FCNaija
France forward has returned to training ahead of schedule, sparking reports that he could be available for the trip to Real Madrid on Dec. 23.
But Valverde said Dembele would not be back in action until January, stressing that there was no need to take risks with the club's record signing.
"He has been doing a lot more with the group this week, but he hasn't completed a full training session yet," the coach told a news conference on Saturday.
"Next week we will increase his workload, but the plan is the same as before. January is when we hope he will come back.
"It would be premature -- risky, even -- to bring him back [early]. Our idea at the moment is to leave it until January."
Before Barca's trip to the Bernabeu for the season's first Clasico, they host Deportivo La Coruna at the Camp Nou.