Madrid, Oct 16 (IANS): FC Barcelona coach Pep Guaridola has refused to blame Spain's national football squad for defender Gerard Pique's muscle injury that sidelined him for the next two to three weeks.
Barcelona confirmed Saturday that Pique, who lasted just eight minutes of their comfortable 3-0 win at home to Racing Santander, is ruled out with a hamstring injury.
Pique has suffered a second muscle injury in the season following his return from a calf injury, which he suffered in the first leg of the Spanish Supercup.
Saturday's was only his third appearance in the La Liga this season, Xinhua reported.
Both of Pique's injuries have occurred after he returned from his national duty and the central defender was withdrawn after just 45 minutes of Tuesday's 3-1 win over Scotland. Guardiola, however, refused to blame the excess of matches for the loss of a key player.
"The coach (Vicente Del Bosque) calls up the players that he considers to be opportune and it is good for us that he plays for Spain because it helps him get fully fit after his previous injury. It is not a question of cause and effect that he has suffered another injury," said Guardiola in Sunday's edition of El Mundo Deportivo and on the club website.
Pique's injury continues the plague of muscle problems that has affected Barcelona this campaign. After just seven league matches, as well as Pique being injured twice, the club has also lost the services of Andres Iniesta, Adriano, Cesc Fabrigas and Alexis Sanchez to muscle problems, while Ibrahima Affelay recently underwent a knee operation.
Iniesta returned in Saturday's win and turned in a fine performance after missing a month with a hamstring problem.
"It is bad luck for Pique and a loss for the team. The bad thing is that he has had two or three injuries one after the other and it seems he has been out for 20 games. We are confident that other players will do well and that Pique will recover as soon as possible," Iniesta commented.