By Tim Stannard
A day after declaring that "we are very much alive!", Gerard Pique could return in time for Barcelona's Champions League challenge against PSG
At least the post-match soundbites are guaranteed to be a little bit livelier than normal on Tuesday after the upcoming Last 16, first-leg Barcelona vs. PSG Champions League clash.
Having spent the weekend contemplating the recent Catalan elections and Barcelona's win over Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey of basketball - "A great weekend to remember who we are. We are very much alive!" - Gerard Pique looks set to turn his social media attention to soccer with a hefty hint from Ronald Koeman today that his captain could be back in action for Tuesday's game.
"He's doing ok, he's had four or five days with the group and there's a good feeling. I have one more day to decide," announced Ronald Koeman on Monday on a footballer who was potentially ruled out for the season after suffering a knee ligament injury in November but is returning just two months later.
And just in time too with Barcelona reaching the business end of the season and three competitions in play, but matters looking dicey in all of the them. Although Barcelona's win over Alaves on Saturday keeps the team within eight points of Atletico at the top of the LaLiga standings, that gap could be 11 on Wednesday with the Rojiblancos playing their match in hand. A tough ask to close down.
The Copa del Rey is not looking too hot either, with Barcelona currently 2-0 down after the first-leg semifinal clash against Sevilla.
This could leave the Champions League as the best hope for Barcelona to win something this season, a reason why Pique might be raced back into the starting line-up for Tuesday's transcendental tussle.
The Sports Burst show will give an early look at Barcelona vs. PSG on our Facebook live page at 12PM ET.
Poch returns to Barcelona a decade after leaving town
Nearly ten years after the Argentinean left the city of Barcelona on a professional basis having been fired by Espanyol back in 2012, Mauricio Pochettino is back in town today to face a club he once said he would never want to manage because of his Perico past as a player and coach.
After a twisty-turny career path via Southampton (something in common with Ronald Koeman) and Tottenham, Poch now has the mission of overturning Barcelona over two-legs in a competition that he recently confessed was an obsession for his PSG bosses.
Poch is without Neymar for at least the first leg of the double header - the second takes place way in the far distant future on March 10 - and Angel di Maria. The former is normally MIA in the Champions League at this stage of the year for one reason or another, but the latter will be a blow for his fellow countryman having been in fine form of late. However, Marco Verratti, did make the trip from Paris with the Italian having been a doubt.
Although PSG did not pull up too many footballing daisies at the weekend with a squeaked 2-1 win over Nice in Ligue 1, the Parisians did get a bit of a boost with fellow title-challengers Lille, Lyon and Monaco all dropping points to put PSG one point off the top and having something to fall back on should matters go very south on Tuesday in the Camp Nou. Which they better not.
Monday Night Soccer will bring the deep dive analysis to the weekend's best action with our George D Metellus, Gary Bailey and Thomas Rongen at 9:30PM ET.