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Football Focus: Barca's pain deepens; Pirlo hails Ronaldo

November 22, 2020 19:48 IST
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Pique, Sergi Roberto set for long layoffs

Barcelona

IMAGE: Gerard Pique of FC Barcelona looks dejected. Photograph: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Barcelona were facing an injury crisis as well as a results crisis on Sunday after defenders Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto were ruled out for significant periods following injuries sustained in Saturday's 1-0 La Liga defeat by Atletico Madrid.

A Barca medical report said veteran centre back Pique, who limped off the pitch in the second half in tears, had sprained the internal lateral ligament in his right knee as well as sustaining a partial injury to the anterior crucial ligament.

 

The statement did not state how long Pique would be out for but reports in the Spanish media estimated he would be out for between three and five months.

Right back Sergi Roberto, meanwhile, ruptured a muscle in his thigh and would be out for two months, added Barca.

The loss of the two defenders add to previous injuries to Samuel Umtiti and Ronald Araujo and leave coach Ronald Koeman with only three defenders (Clement Lenglet, Jordi Alba and Sergino Dest) available for Tuesday's Champions League trip to Dynamo Kiev.

Barca will also be without forward Ansu Fati for the next four months after he underwent knee surgery earlier this month, while midfielder Sergio Busquets is out with a knee problem but is due back by the end of the month.

Yannick Carrasco's goal for Atletico inflicted a third defeat in eight league games on Barca, who are 10th in the standings, nine points adrift of second-placed Atleti and leaders Real Sociedad.

Andrea Pirlo hails 'true champion' Ronaldo

Juventus manager Andrea Pirlo has hailed 'true champion' Cristiano Ronaldo and said that the Portuguese is an 'example to everyone'.

Pirlo's comments came after Ronaldo's heroics guided Juventus to a 2-0 win over Cagliari in Serie A here on Sunday. Ronaldo scored both the goals for his side in the 38th and 42nd minutes respectively.

"Ronaldo works so hard both in training and in matches. Only a true champion can get the results he's earned. He's an example to everyone and does it in every game," the club's official website quoted Pirlo as saying.

Pirlo also expressed satisfaction with the overall performance of the team during the match.

"It was important for us to boss the game today - it was just what we needed to boost our belief. We have lots of quality and we have to move the ball around quickly if we want to dominate territorially. We did that well today and the lads enjoyed themselves out there," he said.

"It's always difficult starting again after the international break but we looked lively from the off this evening: we went out there with the right mindset because it was a game we needed and really wanted to win," Pirlo added.

Juventus hold the second spot on the Serie A table with 16 points, only one point behind the table-toppers AC Milan. 

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