Ahead of their clash against Chelsea for a spot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, the Catalans have been handed a huge positive sign after veteran midfielder Andreas Iniesta returned back to training.
The midfielder was ruled out after suffering a hamstring injury during Barcelona’s 1-0 victory over Atletico Madrid. As a result of which, the involvement of Iniesta in the crunch fixture against the Blues was clouded with uncertainty.
The midfielder managed to return back to training with his teammates after missing out on the clash against Malaga where the Catalans managed to pick up all three points to extend their unbeaten run by virtue of goals from Suarez and Coutinho.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 12, 2018
Chelsea managed to give the La Liga giants, a run for their money after leading for the majority of the game before Lionel Messi leveled things up at Stamford Bridge. It’s all to play for in the second leg as the inconsistent Blues visit Camp Nou for the second leg. Chelsea have been hit and miss this season, but if they pick their passes right, Barcelona will be in for some serious trouble.
Valverde explains the importance of Iniesta in the squad
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde highlighted the need for Iniesta in the squad and mentioned what made him different from the other midfielders at their disposal. He said:
“We have similar players, although he is unique. We have similar profile players, Denis [Suarez] and [Philippe] Coutinho, Andre Gomes as well. ‘Their characteristics are comparable and they could play in [Iniesta’s] position.”
The impending need for Iniesta stems from the fact that their big money signing Phillipe Coutinho will not be eligible for the clash having already represented Liverpool in the competition earlier this season.
Despite age wearing the Spaniard down, there is no argument on the impact that Iniesta provides the line-up. Apart from that, Iniesta’s experience playing such crucial fixtures could bode in well for the team who look to get past the quarterfinals this year to overcome their disappointing campaign last year.
The return of the veteran midfielder surely hands a huge advantage for the Catalans as they look to topple Chelsea who have not been at their best as of late. Although, things cannot be taken for granted considering the Blues record against Barcelona. Iniesta will have to lead his troops from the front and help the La Liga side secure a victory over the Premier League Champions.