Gerard Pique limped out of Barcelona’s 1-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid on Saturday, leaving the club concerned he could be out of action for up to 4-6 months.
The defender has already undergone an initial examination by the club’s medical staff who are concerned Pique has suffered “a serious injury in the right knee that would entail between four and six months of absence,” according to Sport.
Pique was supposed to return to Barca after the game but will now stay in the Spanish capital. The club believe the best-case scenario would see Pique sidelined for 2-3 months but fear he may need surgery which would see the 33-year-old ruled out for 4-6 months.
The defender’s injury will be a huge blow given he is a crucial presence in the backline and has been ever-present in Ronald Koeman’s defense in La Liga so far in 2020-21.
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Who Can Replace Pique?
The Barca boss is also short of options when it comes to replacing Pique. Ronald Araujo is the most obvious choice, but the Uruguay international is also on the club’s injured list currently.
Araujo picked up a thigh problem in Barca’s Champions League win over Juventus in October and has not yet returned to action. Samuel Umtiti is also still out with a knee problem, although the Frenchman has been training with the first team.
The injuries mean Clement Lenglet is the club’s only senior fit center-back currently, while midfielder Frenkie de Jong may be asked to drop back into the defense to help out.
The Netherlands international knows the role well from his time with Ajax and the Netherlands national team and has already been forced to deputize in central defense this season.
Koeman could also look to Barcelona B for defensive options. Oscar Mingueza is an option, and was named in the squad for the trip to Atletico, but the 21-year-old lacks top-level experience has not yet made his debut for the first team.
Barca Injuries Piling Up
Pique is the latest Barcelona player to pick up a problem but joins a growing injury list at the Camp Nou. Sergi Roberto also suffered an injury against Atletico and may also be set for a spell on the sidelines.
Midfielder Sergio Busquets missed Saturday’s game after suffering a knee injury on international duty with Spain, while teenage forward Ansu Fati has been ruled out for four months after undergoing knee surgery.
The injuries mean Koeman will be forced to shuffle his pack and use some of his players who have barely had a look-in so far. Sergino Dest could come into the backline to replace Roberto at right-back, while Carles Alena and Riqui Puig are options in midfield if De Jong drops back into the defense.