Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has eased fears he could be set for a month on the sidelines, after tests revealed his knee injury is not as bad as first feared.
The 31-year-old netted ?Barca’s dramatic late equaliser against Espanyol on Sunday but sustained a knock during the second half of a fiery Catalan derby.
As reported by?? ?ESPN, the Spaniard underwent medical tests at the club’s training ground on Monday to determine the extent of the injury sustained at Cornella-El Prat. The results show his injury is not as bad as first feared, with Pique now expected to only miss a couple of weeks of action.
Should the diagnosis of Pique’s injury prove accurate, the centre-back will be ruled out of Thursday’s second leg Copa del Rey tie at the Mestalla, as well as the subsequent league games against Getafe and Eibar.
He could return to full fitness just in time to face ?Chelsea in the Champions League, with Barcelona travelling to Stamford Bridge for the first leg on 20 February.
RC Espanyol attacker Sergio Garcia has defended himself against claims that he racially abused Barcelona centre-back Samuel Umtiti during the two clubs’ 1-1 draw at the weekend.
Garcia came on as a substitute towards the end of the match, and reports in Spain claim that the Espanyol striker threw a racial slur at Umtiti as tempers began to flare as the game drew to a close.
Garcia took to social media to respond to the allegations:
“You all know that my wife is of gypsy ethnicity and that I grew up in a neighbourhood with all the races in the world.
“My brother-in-law, with whom I have a strong friendship, is also African-American.
“Many things are said in the heat of a game which should stay on the pitch. Forca Espanyol!”
The reports in Spain suggest that the slur carried over into the tunnel after the final whistle had blown, with Umtiti angry at Garcia for what he had said.
It took for Gerard Pique – Barcelona’s goalscorer and defender who could be seen shushing the Espanyol fans – to break up the fight.
After the game, Garcia is believed to have gone over to the Barcelona dressing room and apologised to the French defender – and considered the matter solved.
The draw leaves Espanyol 15th in La Liga, with Barcelona continuing their reign over the Spanish league table – yet to lose a match this season.
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?Gerard Piqué could face up to a month in the Barcelona treatment room after suffering a knock during their clash with local rivals Espanyol.
The 31-year-old scored the equalising goal for Barcelona at the Estadi Cornellà-El Prat and celebrated by gesturing to the home fans, who were angry at Piqué’s recent comments about Espanyol, that they should be quiet after dishing out abuse throughout the match.
Spanish outlet AS claim that Piqué has been undergoing tests at the Ciutat Esportiva (Barcelona’s training ground) to determine the extent of his injury – with early indications suggesting he might not return until March.
Coupled with the absences of former Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen, this latest defensive injury could see the first chance Yerry Mina, a January signing from Brazilian side Palmeiras, has in the Barcelona first-team.
The 23-year-old has an outstanding record of three goals in nine appearances for the Colombian national team, most recently captaining Los Cafeteros alongside Tottenham star Davinson Sánchez in a 4-0 victory over China.
Although Mina’s inclusion in Ernesto Valverde’s Champions League squad could still be up for debate, the Colombian should be drafted in for Barcelona’s upcoming La Liga match against Getafe as Samuel Umtiti is suspended.
French forward Ousmane Dembele reportedly claimed he knows which player is moving closer every day to joining him at Barcelona, according to donbalon.
The transfer of Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid to Barcelona is apparently 90% done and Barcelona star Dembele is already welcoming his fellow French international into the team. The 20-year-old has a close friendship with Griezmann and has told his teammates
Barcelona are expected to have to pay £88.2million to get their man in the summer and t
“Griezmann immediately looked up at the fans, kicked the ball away and remonstrated with those jeering him.”
Barcelona were able to maintain their unbeaten La Liga run and set a new club record in the process following their 1-1 Catalan Derby draw with Espanyol on Sunday afternoon.
Following a fairly mellow first-half, the contest sparked into life in the second, with
After being booed for the entire match, Gerard Pique grabbed a crucial late equaliser in Barcelona’s derby with Espanyol to see the spoils shared.
No surprise what celebration he opted for… pic.twitter.com/SzKI7GkKU7
— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) February 4, 2018
Surprisingly, given the rivalry, it was a slightly
However, despite struggling to orchestrate their way through the heavily rotated Espanyol backline during the opening quarter, record-signing
Following the Brazilian’s pot-shot, play returned back to its former absent-tempoed self, but, in spite of their dormant opening 25 minutes, it was a
Espanyol 0-0 Barcelona HT – Messi’s absence is clear to see, however as is Jordi Alba’s. Lucas Digne is certainly not an untalented player, but his attacking threat and lack of pace compared to Alba is proving detrimental both going forward and in defence. Sub soon #EspanyolBarca
— Joe Owens (@joejournosun) February 4, 2018
But following another lull in the contest caused by the treacherous conditions, the hosts took advantage of their short spell of dominance and broke the deadlock courtesy of Gerard, who had celebrated recording his 100th appearance for the
Gerard Moreno has now scored his first goal against Barcelona in all competitions in his 10th appearance against the club.
What a time to step up. pic.twitter.com/XeHyFaldB5
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 4, 2018
However, after taking the lead, Espanyol seemed to find comfort in dropping deeper and deeper, and with less than 10 minutes to go their over-defensive tactics, coupled with the introduction of substitute Lionel Messi, proved pivotal.
The afternoon’s pantomime villain, Pique, who had been on the receiving end of a constant barrage of abuse from the home supporters following the defender’s comments earlier in the week, was able to latch his head onto a fizzing free-kick from the Argentine super-sub and nod home to further decrease his popularity inside the