After secretly returning to training to prove his fitness, Barcelona center-back Gerard Pique is believed to be ready to appear in Tuesday’s Champions League tie with Paris Saint-Germain.
In November’s 1-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid, the 34-year-old went down with an injury to his knee ligaments, and it was suspected that it could well have ended up being a season-end injury because of Pique’s age.
Fortunately, Pique has recovered well and worries have been raised, but things have gone better than anyone could have predicted, according to Marca. It is said that when it comes to healing from this kind of injury, he has broken records, and on Thursday last week, he was snuck into training to begin preparing for the game on Tuesday.
Barcelona did not want Pique’s fitness to be revealed to the public, just in case something went wrong. Pique was concealed from the cameras when they conducted an open 15-minute training session on Friday but is suspected to have been training with the side for the last five days.
Pique did not have any issues with his leg, and club officials now have to determine whether the Spaniard can return to the starting lineup just three months after sustaining the injury.
He’s desperate to play, Pique himself. He sees the importance of the game on Tuesday and wants to help his team battle for a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, provided that this could be the only competition left to win in Barcelona.
In the semi-final of the Copa del Rey, they are still eight points behind La Liga leaders Atletico, who have a game in hand, though they have lost the Spanish Super Cup and are 2-0 down to Sevilla.
Manager Ronald Koeman also recognizes the meaning of the match and leans towards the philosophy of playing Pique, but a definitive decision will not be taken until the morning of the match to ensure 100% preparedness for the defender.
Koeman doesn’t have too many center-back options right now. Ronald Araujo is also injured and Oscar Mingueza is needed as right-back cover, so the only other choices are Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti.