Gerard Piqué faces a series of late fitness tests to see whether he will have any chance of returning for Saturday’s clash with Real Madrid. The central defender is training with the rest of the squad which will give club medical staff an idea of how his right knee is responding. He had been training apart for the past few days, gradually increasing the intensity of his workouts – if the pain in his knee doesn’t subside, he will be ruled out of El Clásico and a new objective will be set – to return for the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Club the following Saturday, 17 April.
For Piqué, it’s a battle against time and the outlook gets more gloomy with each day that passes. The fact that he has only completed one training session in the last month doesn’t exactly inspire optimism and less so when the player’s own sensations after a workout aren’t too good. Today, he will be expected to complete the session then meet up with coaching staff and doctors to make a definitive decision.
Koeman has already made it clear that he won’t be taking any risks with the defender like he did just over a month ago, rushing him back for the first leg of the Champions League tie against PSG. The coach regretted that decision, Lluís Canut revealed on TV3 programme Onze de TV3, and felt that fielding Piqué who was not 100% fit conditioned how the rest of the team played.
As things stand, it looks like Piqué will sit out the Clásico and hopefully be back for next week’s Copa final.
Elsewhere, Antoine Griezmann was absent from today’s session. He was granted permission to miss the session for personal reasons. It is hoped that he will be back at the Ciutat Esportiva tomorrow, for Barcelona’s final training session before the squad travels down to Madrid.