Midfielder Andres Iniesta was ruled out of Barcelona’s Champions
League semifinal against Real Madrid on Wednesday, dealing the
Spanish champions another injury blow ahead of the first-leg
Iniesta trained for about 10 minutes at the Santiago Bernabeu
Stadium on Tuesday before exiting for the changing room. Iniesta
had been bothered by an injury to his right calf since Saturday’s
2-0 win over Osasuna.
”Iniesta is out,” Coach Pep Guardiola said on Tuesday.
”Tomorrow he can’t play.”
Guardiola had hopes Iniesta could return in time for the return
leg on May 3.
Barcelona is already without defenders Eric Abidal, Adriano and
Maxwell for the match between the Spanish giants, who are meeting
for the third of four games in an 18-day span.
Guardiola said the absences will not affect the team’s attacking
style of play. Captain and center back Carles Puyol is also a
game-time decision. Puyol missed last Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to
Madrid in the Copa del Rey final after injuring himself in a 1-1
league draw at the Bernabeu.
”If you come to this stadium looking to defend a result then
they will roll over you,” Guardiola said. ”I can’t do that, I
can’t change the way (we play) because of the injuries.”
The bitter rivals play the third of four meetings inside 18 days
with Madrid having won the Copa del Rey final after a 1-1 league
draw before that.