Spanish publication AS has affirmed that veteran FC Porto defender Pepe will not play against Barcelona in Matchday 2 of the UEFA Champions League.
The former Real Madrid defender will miss the UCL tie with a muscle problem. The 40-year-old recently missed his side’s away game against Benfica in the Portuguese league and after not participating in the pre-match training session today, it has been confirmed that he will miss the tie.
As a result of his injury, the veteran defender’s anticipation for his 24th game against Barça is met with disappointment.
The wait continues
It has been quite a while since Pepe parted ways with Real Madrid, and in that time, he hasn’t had the chance to lock horns with Barcelona, a team he has bested on ten occasions in the past.
The 40-year-old defender spent ten seasons with Real Madrid before calling time in 2017. It has been six years and Pepe has never gotten a chance to face Barcelona. Destiny presented an opportunity this season but physical injury means he will have to wait.
In turn, he will have to bide his time, patiently awaiting the fifth matchday when Porto travel to Catalonia, where his chance for a showdown with Barcelona could finally materialize.
Barça without three players
As far as Barcelona are concerned, they have injury issues of their own, with Raphinha ruled out due to a hamstring problem. The likes of Pedri and Frenkie de Jong will be unavailable for selection as well due to their respective injuries.
As a result, Ferran Torres could get a starting place against the Portuguese side alongside Robert Lewandowski and Joao Felix.
Furthermore, the likes of Oriol Romeu and Ronald Araujo could return to the starting XI as well after being named as substitutes during the home match against Sevilla.