‘Defence, not Messi, a concern’

Rafa Marquez has reflected that Barcelona’s absences at the back are more of a concern to him than that of Lionel Messi.

Messi is missing for the weekend match at home to Mallorca with a thigh injury and his place in the team for their Champions League quarter-final second leg against Paris Saint-Germain is also still in doubt.

However, the club are also without a number of players in defence, with Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano’s injuries in particular leaving Barca looking for centre-back alternatives.

For former Blaugrana man Marquez, this is a more disconcerting situation than that surrounding Messi.

“Knowing Leo, he will try to be there. Hopefully he gets better soon, because he is an important piece to the team,” commented Marquez to La Xarxa Radio this week.

“The defensive situation is more worrying – they have already played with absentees on occasion.

“I would go with Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets at centre-back, because they are more experienced and because Sergio has played in that position.

“Who would I sign for Barca? Thiago Silva is the model that Barca should try to sign. He is a player that the must sign so as to strengthen the defence.

“There are few centre-backs with character and who can play with the ball. He is what the club is looking for.”

Tags Bartra Busquets Marquez Mascherano Messi Pique Puyol