Barcelona take on Chelsea in the Champions League this month, and they may have to do so without a pivotal figure in Gerard Pique.
The two sides meet at Stamford Bridge on February 20 before the return leg at the Nou Camp on March 14, with both coaches undoubtedly desperate to have as close to a fully-fit squad as possible at their disposal.
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As per AS though, Barcelona are at risk of seeing Pique sidelined for a month after he suffered a knee injury in the draw with Espanyol on Sunday, and that would undoubtedly raise a real question mark over the backline for the Catalan giants.
The veteran has established a solid partnership with Samuel Umtiti in the heart of the Barcelona defence, and so there will be a few concerned faces hoping that the Frenchman can avoid any setbacks of his own which would really leave Barca in a hole.
In the event that Pique doesn’t recover in time to face Chelsea in either the first leg or even both meetings, then coach Ernesto Valverde will surely have to look to either Thomas Vermaelen or January signing Yerry Mina.
It’s worth noting that Pique is set to undergo further scans and tests on Monday to determine the full extent of his injury, and so Barcelona will hope for good news from that to avoid being without him for a lengthy spell.
Either way though, it’s enough to warrant concern for now and the timeline put forward is a worry as they have key fixtures coming up in their pursuit of major trophies, with Vermalen not always getting regular minutes while Mina remains raw and inexperienced after arriving from South America.
Pique, 31, has been an almost ever-present this season making 30 appearances in all competitions to this point, and so they’ll be desperate to get him back on the pitch back at 100% as soon as possible.