As as been tradition this season, things have been very binary this season for Barcelona. After a sensational victory against Sevilla led by none other than Gerard Pique, who scored the equaliser with the last touch of the ball in regulation time, the Spaniard has picked up an injury in his knee, as has been confirmed by Barcelona.
In an attempt to pass the ball backwards to Clement Lenglet in extra time, Pique took too much time on the ball, and turning his body in a sudden motion seems to have gone against him. He started to hobble instantly and had to be catered to by the medical staff. Interestingly enough, the 34-year-old asked Ronald Koeman to not make a substitution despite clearly not feeling well enough to play.
Pique had picked up an injury early on in the season against Atletico Madrid which scared Barcelona fans to their core. At 34, a knee injury that looked as bad as it did on the night, things could have gone south very quickly for the legendary defender. However, opting for conservative treatment as opposed to surgery, Pique recovered inside four months and made his first start since the Atleti game against Paris Saint-Germain.
Ideally, with the kind of form Oscar Mingueza is in, it would not have been a problem for Barcelona. Sadly, the team lacks another reliable defender beside the Barcelona B centre-half. Ronald Araujo has been perpetually injured this season, while Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti do not look robust enough to sustain pressure.
With Barcelona trailing 4-1 from the first leg against PSG, Pique would have been a crucial cog if the visitors could even dare to hope. As it stands, though, he is suspected to be out for three weeks, and will miss clashes against Osasuna, Paris Saint-Germain, Huesca, Real Sociedad, and probably even the game against Real Valladolid.
Report: Barcelona accept defeat in pursuit of Inter Milan striker
According to reports from Corriere della Sera (relayed by SempreInter), Barcelona have now given up on their pursuit of Inter Milan striker, Lautaro Martinez. The 23-year-old has enjoyed a phenomenal season upfront with Romelu Lukaku, and he is a hot prospect in Europe. He has several skills that make him suited to a team like Barça, who have been chasing him for over a year now.
Inter were initially demanding northwards of €100m for the striker before the start of the 20/21 season. With their financial struggles, the Catalan club were unable to cope with their demands. However, the rumours linking Martinez to Barça did not die down in the months that followed. This is due to the Blaugrana’s dire need for a striker.
The Garnet and the Blue have been considering several options, with the Argentinian striker being only one out of a talented bunch including Aguero, Depay, Haaland, and more. Martinez was hotly tipped to join Barça, apparently wanting a union with his fellow Argentine teammate Lionel Messi.
However, with Inter’s meteoric rise to success, and Martinez’ key role in the team, it seems that he is no longer going to leave the club. The Milan based club is head and shoulders above all other teams in the Serie A, and look set to win their first title in eleven years.
The Argentine forward has played a huge part in Inter’s incredible campaign, scoring fifteen and assisting five in 30 matches this league campaign.
Antonio Conte has done a brilliant job with Inter, and he has also developed Martinez into a phenomenal striker; one who can both score goals as well as drop deep and create the play. With his immense pairing with Lukaku and the inevitable success of Inter, it seems impossible that a transfer is on the card for the young striker any time soon.