Barca's Pique sidelined with thigh injury

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique is set for two weeks on the sidelines with a thigh injury.

The centre-back played the full 90 minutes in Barca's 3-1 defeat at Real Sociedad on Saturday, but the club have since confirmed he sustained the minor problem during the match.

Pique is expected to miss the La Liga matches with Almeria and Real Valladolid and could be a doubt for the second leg of Barca's UEFA Champions League last 16 tie with Manchester City on March 12.

It is not the first time that the 27-year-old has spent time out this season after struggling with a groin problem and a hernia earlier in the campaign.

"Gerard Pique will be out of action for two weeks after suffering a minor thigh injury against Real Sociedad," Barca confirmed in a statement on the club's official website.

"Pique also missed the away game to Betis in November with groin trouble, the same problem that led to him being dropped as a precautionary measure for the games with Osasuna and Celta."

Pique has made 33 appearances in all competitions for Barca this season, scoring four goals, but his absence will be a big loss for head coach Gerardo Martino with little cover given injury problems with Carles Puyol.

Martino only has Javier Mascherano, Marc Bartra and Martin Montoya available as options at the heart of his defence, so will hope to have Pique back as quickly as possible.