Valverde mulls Iniesta selection

13 March 2018 13:55:49 EST

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde may be tempted to risk midfielder Andres Iniesta in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Chelsea.

The 33-year-old Spain international sustained a hamstring injury in a 1-0 La Liga win over Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou just over a week ago and was forced to miss the 2-0 victory at Malaga at the weekend.

He has done well in training, but we can't say whether or not he will play yet.

Ernesto Valverde

However, Iniesta has returned to training ahead of the clash with the Blues and, with the tie locked at 1-1 from the first leg at Stamford Bridge, Valverde is edging toward taking a punt on his veteran skipper for such a crucial game.

He told reporters at his pre-match press conference: "He's done well in training, but we can't say whether or not he will play yet. It's a huge game, but you need to be 100 per cent fit to play.

"Tomorrow is a must-win situation, so you need to take risks, as long as they are not too excessive. But you also do not want to compromise the safety of the player.

"When a game is like this, the player is always more willing to play. Is the risk too excessive or not? We will see, it is down to the player."

Barca are, perhaps surprisingly, without a win in their last eight meetings with the Blues, who have claimed a draw on each of their last four visits to the Camp Nou.

Two of those games have ended 2-2, which would be enough to send Chelsea through to the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday evening.

Barcelona are priced at 9/20 to win in 90 minutes on Wednesday and are 6/1 to do so by a 2-0 scoreline, with Lionel Messi available at 8/13 to score at any time.

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