Injury setback for Barca’s Pique

Madrid, Feb 23: FC Barcelona’s miserable weekend got worse Sunday when it was confirmed the club will be without Spain international defender Gerard Pique.

The club confirmed on its official website that Pique sustained a calf injury during the 1-3 defeat to Real Sociedad which saw the club be replaced by Real Madrid at the top of the BBVA Primera Liga, reports Xinhua.

Pique’s injury is a major blow to the club given that he has been the only regular in the heart of the Barca defensive back line.

Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano have also suffered injury problems and coach Gerardo Tata Martinez is yet to put his full confidence in youngster Marc Bartra.

Bartra wll now get the nod on a more regular basis, although Barca will be hoping that Pique’s loss will not be too significant next week, given they face struggling Almeria in the Camp Nou Stadium.

However, he will miss Spain’s friendly game against Italy the following week, while it will be touch and go whether or not he is fit for the return leg of their Champions League last 16 tie which sees Barca defend a 2-0 lead at home to Manchester City.

IANS