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Pique named in Barcelona squad for Clasico however Hazard misses out for Real Madrid

15:12 BST 09/04/2021
Gerard Pique Barcelona 2020-21
The veteran defender is a surprise inclusion for the huge Liga fixture after struggling with a knee injury for the past month

Gerard Pique has been named in Barcelona's squad for El Clasico on Saturday, despite recent struggles with a knee injury. 

Pique has made just 15 appearances all season as he has battled a knee injury, and hasn't played since March 3.

Sergi Roberto is also back in Barca's squad after missing two months with a thigh problem, but for Real Madrid, Eden Hazard has missed out on the squad as he continues to battle a hip injury. 

What was said?

"It is important [to have Pique] because of his quality and personality," Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman said at his pre-match press conference. "[Pique and Roberto] lack the rhythm of matches, but they are physically well and excited. It is important to have them."

Asked if he would play Pique even if he's not 100 per cent fit, Koeman responded: "It depends on the moment of the game. Any player has to be in perfect physical and mental condition - but there are players who by personality and being captain are important.

"My job is to look for the best 11 players to achieve an important result."

Real Madrid team news

Los Blancos head into Saturday's clash far from full strength, with several players set to miss out in addition to Hazard.

Madrid's backline will be missing a number of key figures, with Dani Carvajal and Sergio Ramos injured and Raphael Varane out after testing positive for Covid-19.

With Ramos and Varane out, Madrid will likely start Eder Militao and Nacho Fernandez in central defence as they did in the midweek Champions League win over Liverpool.

The bigger picture

Saturday's game could go a long way toward determining who wins La Liga, with first-place Atletico Madrid having fallen off the pace in recent weeks. 

Atletico are just one point ahead of second-place Barcelona, with Real Madrid a further two points back in third place. 

"The result is not decisive," Koeman said. "After tomorrow's game there are many days to go, but it is true that the team that wins will get an important morale boost going forward."

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