Koulibaly doubtful for Champions League clash with Barcelona

Swelling could keep Kalidou Koulibaly out of Napoli's Champions League clash with Barcelona next week, says coach Gennaro Gattuso.

Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly has only played one Serie A match since the turn of the year.

Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly has only played one Serie A match since the turn of the year.   -  Getty Images

Gennaro Gattuso has confirmed Napoli could be without key defender Kalidou Koulibaly for next week's Champions League game against Barcelona.

Injuries have hampered the Senegal international this season and he has only played one Serie A match since the turn of the year.

Napoli heads to Brescia on Friday before hosting Barca four days later in the first leg of its last-16 tie with the La Liga champion.

And Gattuso, whose side have won five of its past six games in all competitions, is unsure whether Koulibaly will be available.

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"We'll need to objectively see what he has," Gattuso told reporters on Thursday. "He has swelling, so we need to listen to how he feels. 

"Right now I have opted, together with the medical staff, to keep him sidelined for seven to 10 days.

"We will evaluate after that how he feels physically. He will tell us how he feels."

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Napoli's improved form has lifted it to ninth in Serie A but it is 12 points behind fourth-placed Atalanta in the race for Champions League qualification.

Gattuso is staying focused on the trip to second-bottom Brescia - with Koulibaly not included in the Napoli squad - rather than allowing the looming Barca game to act as a distraction.

"I haven't heard anyone talk about Barcelona," Gattuso added. "We haven't prepared for Barcelona yet. We have prepared for the match against Brescia. We will think about Barcelona on Saturday after the analysis of the match against Brescia."

Napoli striker Fernando Llorente will miss the Brescia game due to flu.

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