Big boost for Barcelona as key Napoli star tipped to miss Champions League clash

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Although a player’s injury is not something to be celebrated, Barcelona have reportedly been handed a boost ahead of their meeting with Napoli.

The Catalan giants grabbed an away goal in the first leg of their round-of-16 Champions League tie last month as the two sides prepare to meet again on March 18 level at 1-1.

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Given their disappointment in this competition over the past two years, the reigning La Liga champions will be desperate to advance and keep their hopes alive and they may well have been handed a crucial boost ahead of their encounter with Gennaro Gattuso’s side.

As reported by Goal Italy, via the paper edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport, it’s suggested that Kalidou Koulibaly will not recover from his injury in time to feature in that clash.

The 28-year-old missed the first leg with a thigh problem, and has also missed the last three Serie A games as it continues to trouble him.

The report above adds that he is only partially training with the rest of the squad this week, and so it has raised doubts over his availability moving forward with the Barcelona game in mind.

Given the nature of the issue and it being a muscle problem, it’s not something that they will want to risk and rush him back from as he could ultimately just aggravate the problem and extend his stint in the treatment room.

With that in mind, it’s claimed that the Barcelona game may come too soon, and so given his defensive solidity, leadership and all-round quality in possession that he offers in the Napoli backline, that will be a huge blow for the Serie A outfit as they look to keep things tight at the back.

His absence could prove to be decisive, especially given Napoli need a goal and must avoid conceding with the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi looking to put on a show at the Nou Camp.

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