Barcelona’s Champions League Tie With Napoli In Doubt?

Lionel Messi

Getty Lionel Messi against Napoli in the first leg

Barcelona are turning their attentions back to the Champions League after their domestic campaign finished on Sunday.

The Catalan giants are due to face Serie A side Napoli at the Camp Nou on August 8 in the last-16 with the tie level at 1-1 after the first leg in Italy. Yet there are concerns that the fixture may have to be moved after a recent surge in coronavirus cases in the region.

UEFA vice-president Michele Uva has told Radio Punto Nuovo that it is hoped that the game can go ahead as planned but admitted there are plans in place in case it does have to be moved.

“Napoli are officially going to play in Barcelona, unless in the meantime there should be rules made to stop football being played in Spain. We hope that won’t happen, so the second legs will be played in the hometowns of the clubs. Obviously, there are alternative solutions.”

If the game were to be more it looks likely it would be played at a neutral venue in Portugal. UEFA has already confirmed the final stages of the tournament will take place in Lisbon.

The final day of Spain’s Segunda division was thrown into chaos on Monday when Deportivo La Coruna’s game against Fuenlabrada was postponed late on after seven players tested positive of Covid-19.

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Gattuso Worried About Covid-19 Threat

Napoli manager Gennaro Gattuso has already admitted his club are concerned about the situation in Barcelona. Gattuso spoke to reporters about the tie after Sunday’s 2-1 win over Udinese.

“I haven’t got caught up on any of it because it’s not my job. It’s something for the president and his guys. They always do this kind of thing. We are worried, of course, but I stay put because the chairman and his entourage will know what to do.”

Gattuso’s side are sixth in the Serie A table with four games left to play and have only been beaten once since football in Italy resumed in June after lockdown. Napoli also saw off Juventus to lift the Coppa Italia last month.

Setien Keen to Play at Camp Nou

Of course, Gattuso’s opposite number Quique Setien is keen to play the tie at Barcelona’s home ground of the Camp Nou. He has already said he believes it would be unfair to play the match at a neutral venue.

“We will see what happens. It would harm us a little, having to play the Napoli game in a neutral venue when in the first leg they were at home. But if those end up being the circumstances, it is what it is. [We] accept it as no other option.”

Barcelona’s away goal means the Catalan giants do hold a slight edge ahead of the second leg of the fixture. Yet they will be without key midfielders Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal due to suspension.

The winners of the tie are likely to face Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals.

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