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Chelsea’s Champions League hopes boosted by injury to Barcelona star Gerard Pique

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Chelsea receive huge boost ahead of Champions League tie with Barcelona
The defender could be ruled out for up to a month and is undergoing further tests (Picture: Getty)

Chelsea have been handed a major boost ahead of their Champions League last-16 tie against Barcelona after Gerard Pique picked up an injury.

The centre-back scored a late equaliser against Espanyol in the Catalan derby on Sunday and celebrated by ‘shushing’ the crowd, who had given him stick throughout the contest.

But despite playing the full 90 minutes, he picked up a knock in the bruising encounter that AS claim could keep him sidelined for up to a month – meaning he would miss the clash with Chelsea.

Chelsea receive huge boost ahead of Champions League tie with Barcelona
Pique scored an equaliser at the weekend but was struggling after the match (Picture: Getty)

The Blues host Barcelona at Stamford Bridge on February 20, two weeks’ time, and Pique is a major doubt for that away trip – though he could return for the second leg two weeks later.

Pique is currently undergoing tests at the club’s Ciutat Esportiva training centre to determine the full extent of the injury before a diagnosis – and return date – can be ascertained.

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With Thomas Vermaelen also out injured, it gives Ernesto Valverde a serious selection headache ahead of the tie with Chelsea.

January signing Yerry Mina is yet to make his debut for Barca, with the manager keen to give the Colombian time to integrate into the squad in training before exposing him to first-team football.

Antonio Conte grimaces
Conte would much prefer to face a Barca back-line with Mina in it rather than Pique (Picture: Getty)

Valverde explained: ‘We are not in pre-season and there is no time for experiments. We are in a critical stage of the season and when he is needed to play, he will play.’

Pique appeared to pick up his injury after a bad challenge from Espanyol goalscorer Gerard Moreno, which sparked a brawl between both sets of players, and will be targeting a return some time at the start of March.

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