FC Barcelona will be without the services of Sergio Busquets when they take on Juventus in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals.
Barcelona flirted with the prospect of being eliminated from Europe’s elite club cup competition when they suffered an agonising 4-0 defeat against Paris St. Germain in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie.
Yet, they did the unthinkable and emerged victorious over two legs with an aggregate score of 6-5. They beat PSG 6-1 in the return fixture at Camp Nou, to pull off one of football’s most memorable comebacks.
For the quarter-final first leg against Juventus, the Catalans will be without the services of their star holding midfielder Sergio Busquets. The Spain international picked up yellow cards in both the legs against PSG, and will serve a one-match Champions League ban.
Speaking about the absence of the midfielder, Barcelona boss Luis Enrique said, “He’s a key player for us, which you can see with his statistics, and you can see how important of a player he is for us. But we do have plenty of resources to cover for him. It’s normal that if you play in these competitions that players pick up cards and get suspended.”
Summer signing Andre Gomes has been coming under immense criticism of late for his sub-par performances for the Spanish side. However, the Barca boss came out to support the player, and suggested that he will start against Juventus.
“Of course, he could have a chance at playing, but I think it’s pathetic that you’re individualising any defeat on one or two players in any team. So, I’m going to come out here and defend my players. I think it’s a shame that you don’t realize that this is a team sport I think it’s pathetic,” he said.
Enrique will also miss the duo of Aleix Vidal and Rafinha. The former’s season came to its end in mid February after he suffered a horrific injury during the La Liga match against Alaves.
Theo Hernandez made a malicious challenge on the right-back which dislocated his ankle in the 87th minute, and Barcelona broke the news that he will be out for the rest of the season, giving the manager a major selection dilemma.
Rafinha, on the other hand, recently had a knee surgery and will be out for another four months, according to the BBC. This will mean that his season too, has ended in horrific fashion, and Enrique will have to look elsewhere for reinforcements.
Come the end of March, Arda Turan suffered a groin injury, which would keep him out for three weeks. However, he has shown signs of a quick recovery, and could have a late fitness test if Enrique opts to include him in the squad.