Andres Iniesta was hurt in Barcelona's win over Atletico Madrid.

By 90Min
March 05, 2018

Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta is set to miss his side's Champions League return leg showdown with Chelsea on March 14, after being ruled out for three to four weeks with a hamstring injury.

The 33-year-old was forced off during the first-half of Blaugrana's 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid on Sunday, in which Lionel Messi netted the only goal of the game, with surprise substitute Andre Gomes taking his place. 

Despite no clarification from Barça themselves regarding the extent of the Spaniard's time on the sidelines, Catalunya Radio, as quoted by SPORT, have claimed that the midfield ace could be missing for up to a month, ruling him out of their crucial European second-leg with Antonio Conte's Blues next week. 

"Iniesta is a unique player, a little like Messi, so it’s difficult to find a player who can replace him", Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde said after the Atleti win.

"He's unique in the world with the characteristics he has. We will have to see the extent of the injury. 

"He carried on playing, so we thought it wasn’t too bad, but we’re not sure. He was playing incredibly." 

If Catalunya Radio's claims turn out to be true, Iniesta's absence leaves Valverde with a severe selection headache for Barcelona's Champions League clash with Chelsea, with record-signing Philippe Coutinho - who for the first time looked as though he belonged at the Camp Nou on Sunday - ineligible. 

Surprise package Paulinho is expected to take the Brazilian's place for the last-16 bout, leaving the Spanish manager with a selection from Gomes, Denis Suarez, Aleix Vidal or Ousmane Dembele - who has struggled to secure regular game time since returning from injury - to replace the injured Barça veteran. 

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