Gerard Pique Aggravates Knee Injury vs. Valencia in Copa del Rey

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2018

BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 19: Gerard Pique of FC Barcelona  during the UEFA Champions League match between FC Barcelona and Manchester City FC at Camp Nou on October 19, 2016 in Barcelona, . (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Barcelona centre-back Gerard Pique was taken out of Thursday's Copa del Rey semi-final second leg in the 82nd minute and replaced by Yerry Mina, reportedly with pain in his right knee, according to Sport

Per the article, the Spain international has been battling knee ligament issues and likely won't be available for Sunday's match against Getafe. 

Pique has been a key member of this Barcelona side for a long time and without him in the XI, the often indomitable Catalans do not carry quite the same aura.

The onus of the team is and always will be on attacking. But to have the freedom going forward, a strong and composed foundation is needed; they are qualities epitomised by Pique.

On the ball, he's the man who so often gets Barcelona moving forward. The 31-year-old is unflappable in possession and while the team can be pressed in this area, he rarely chooses the wrong option when looking into midfield. 

It's his defensive play where the centre-back stands out, though. For all his flair on the ball, Pique is forceful and physical. He relishes aerial battles, is immaculate in the timing of his tackles and excels in one-on-one situations, something that is crucial given the cavalier football Barca play.

Manager Ernesto Valverde is running out of alternatives to use in this area of the pitch. While Samuel Umtiti has impressed during his Barca career, he's suspended for Sunday's match, leaving Mina as the candidate to fill in for Pique.

The Colombia international doesn't offer as much in terms of skill, steel and leadership as Pique, however. That's something which will be to Barcelona's detriment should their star centre-back spend time on the sidelines.

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