During Sunday’s win over Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou, Barcelona was unfortunate to lose Andres Iniesta to injury in the first half.
The Spaniard pulled up with an apparent hamstring injury and could be out of action for a month. Potentially missing not just the Champions League tie with Chelsea, but also the first leg of the next tie should they make it through.
As Philippe Coutinho is unavailable for Champions League duty, Iniesta’s absence could pose a problem for Valverde. Speaking after the match, Valverde said,
“Iniesta is a unique player, a little like Messi, so it’s difficult to find a player who can replace him.”
“He is unique in the world in terms of the characteristics he has. We will have to see the extent of the injury. He carried on playing at first so we thought it wasn’t too bad, but we’re not sure. … He was playing incredibly.”
Meanwhile, on the topic of Pique, Valverde is taking a calculated risk. He said,
“Pique has an injury which allows him to keep playing.
“It’s not a big problem and with two or three weeks’ [rest], he could be fine.
“He can play. We’re risking him. It depends a little on if he takes a knock in the injured area. For the moment, it’s not gone badly, so we will keep on going with him.”