Gerard Pique has given Barcelona an untimely injury headache a day after helping inspire them to a thrilling Copa del Rey victory over Sevilla, with the World Cup winner nursing another problem.
Injury struggles have become familiar for the 34-year-old this season, with knee complaints plaguing his 2020-21 campaign.
The vastly-experienced centre-half is now back in the treatment room at Camp Nou, with no timescale being put on a recovery from his latest setback.
What has been said?
Barca said in a statement on their official website: “The medical assessment and tests performed this morning have shown that first team player Gerard Pique has a sprain in the internal lateral ligament of his right knee.
“He is therefore unavailable and the evolution of the injury will determine when he returns.
“The Barca centre-back was a starter and played the 120 minutes in the superb win against Sevilla, as well as being one of the great protagonists of the night, leading the heroic comeback with a goal in added time that allowed Barca to force extra-time.
“As for this season, Pique has played a total of 15 games in which he has scored two goals.”
How many games has Pique missed this season?
Pique was forced onto the sidelines in November 2020 with a knee problem and missed the best part of three months.
He sat out 24 games as Ronald Koeman’s side struggled to find the consistency required to compete for major honours.
A dramatic return to action was made in a Champions League last-16 showdown with Paris Saint-Germain, but his lack of match sharpness was exposed in a 4-1 defeat.
Four more outings have been taken in since then, including the dramatic showing against Sevilla which has Barca in contention for cup glory, but it remains to be seen when his next appearance will come.
Which fixtures could Pique miss?
It is being suggested that Pique could be ruled out until after the next international break.
If that assessment proves to be correct, then Koeman will be without a key part of his plans for another four games.
The first of those is set to see title-chasing Barca face Osasuna on Saturday. They then have the return leg of a heavyweight European showdown with PSG, with an almost impossible task faced.
Further Liga outings against Huesca and Real Sociedad follow, before they Barca return to action on April 4 at home to Real Valladolid, then facing old adversaries Real Madrid in a Clasico clash at Santiago Bernabeu on April 11.