Barcelona defender Gerard Pique is a serious doubt for Saturday’s Clasico clash with Real Madrid at the Camp Nou due to a hamstring strain.
Pique was reported to be suffering from a muscle issue while on international duty with Spain earlier this month, and was then rested for Barca’s 0-0 draw at Osasuna at the weekend.
He then played 90 minutes in Wednesday’s 1-1 Champions League draw at AC Milan, where he was caught napping by Robinho for the Brazilian’s goal, and appears to have further aggravated the problem.
A club statement released after Wednesday evening’s training session at Barca’s Ciutat Esportiva suggested the centre-half faced a race against time to be fit for Saturday’s game.
“Gerard Pique finished the match against Milan with discomfort in the hamstring of his left leg,” the statement read. “Tests confirm that the player’s muscle is strained. Therefore he will follow a specific workout regimen on Thursday and Friday.”
The injury concern gives coach Gerardo Martino a selection dilemma in central defence. Javier Mascherano returned from a four-week absence as a result of his own hamstring problem against Milan, and afterwards admitted he had not been happy with his own performance.
Club captain Carles Puyol did well in his first game in seven months in the game at Osasuna but there are questions as to whether he would have the necessary match sharpness for a Clasico. Marc Bartra, 22, who impressed alongside Pique in recent weeks, is fully fit but lacks much big-game experience.