Gerard Pique has knee injury likely to miss Copa del Rey semifinal
Gerard Pique is likely to miss this week’s Copa del Rey semifinal against Valencia with a knee injury and faces a race against time to be 100 percent fit for the Champions League game against Chelsea later this month.
The defender underwent tests at the club’s training ground on Monday. And while things are not as bad as first feared, he’s expected to be out for up to two weeks.
Barca have not yet confirmed how long Pique will be missing, and the centre-back is keen to find a way to play against Valencia, but coach Ernesto Valverde is unlikely to take any risks.
With Thomas Vermaelen also out of action, Pique’s absence would mean a debut for Yerry Mina at the Mestalla.
Mina, an €11.8 million signing from Palmeiras, has not yet played for the club since he arrived in January but he has been on the bench for the last three matches.
With Umtiti suspended for Sunday’s league game against Getafe, it could signal the start of a run of games for the Colombian international.
Pique may not only miss the trip to Valencia this week, where Barca travel with a 1-0 lead from the first leg, but the league games against Getafe and Eibar.
Ernesto Valverde will hope to have him back for the Champions League game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Feb. 20.
Vermaelen is unlikely to be available for the games against Valencia or Getafe, but the Belgian could come into contention for the match at Eibar on Feb. 17.
Meanwhile, Barca have also confirmed that left-back Lucas Digne broke a finger in the draw at Cornella-El Prat on Sunday.
The left-back was taken off for Jordi Alba in the second half, and the club say “his evolution from the injury will mark his availability for upcoming games.”
Pique was the centre of attention on and off the pitch on Sunday, scoring the leveller, telling the home fans to be quiet and then standing by his comments that they are “Espanyol from Cornella” and not Espanyol from Barcelona.
He also asked for more respect, with Espanyol reporting him for that comment last week while ignoring the fact their fans have aimed insults at the Barca defender and his family for years.
But Espanyol midfielder Esteban Granero said respect is a two-way street.
“His celebration didn’t wind us up but when you provoke [people] you can’t then ask for respect,” Granero told reporters.
“It was a clean and competitive game. Before the celebration it was clean but later it got more wild. On our part, we will not get into this game or provocations, we respect everyone.
“Everyone is responsible for their actions and suffers the consequences. When you want them to respect you, you should show respect.
“That’s what happens to most Barcelona players, who get applauded wherever they go. Look at Andres Iniesta. For others, it’s not like that and that’s a result of their own behaviour.”
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.