Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has confirmed that Andres Iniesta remains a doubt for the club’s second leg Champions League last-16 tie against Chelsea.
The Barca captain had to be substituted in the first half of Sunday’s 1-0 LaLiga win against Atletico Madrid with a hamstring injury.
Iniesta is expected to miss Barca’s league game at Malaga on Saturday and Valverde is unsure whether the midfielder will be available to face Chelsea, with the sides tied at 1-1 after the first leg.
“He is training separately at the moment,” Valverde told a news conference. “Obviously we do not want to rush things, it’s too early to say if he will be available for next week.
“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.”
Ousmane Dembele is a contender to fill in too, although the former Borussia Dortmund winger has struggled to settle since joining Barca, with his campaign disrupted by injury.