Iniesta: Yes we are Messi-dependent

Andres Iniesta has conceded that Barcelona are a different side with and without Lionel Messi, but that either way they expect to compete with PSG.

The Catalans host Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League quarter-final second leg this week with the advantage of away goals from last Tuesday’s 2-2 first leg draw.

However, most of the attention is focused on Messi’s fitness for Wednesday evening, after he picked up a thigh injury in that draw in Paris.

Facing the Press in the pre-game conference, Iniesta fielded a number of questions relating to the Argentine’s condition and how his potential absence could impinge on Barca’s hopes of making the semi-finals.

“We will see today, see tomorrow. It all depends on how Leo feels, how the injury is. Between today and tomorrow it will be decided whether or not he can be in the game,” Iniesta answered on Tuesday evening.

“Undoubtedly there is Messidependencia – Messi dependence – in the sense that he is essential for us. He is a key player. He is the best when he plays.

“And there is Messidependencia for the fact that he benefits the whole team when he plays. Having Leo or not, clearing changes things. But the team is the team that we have and all can play and perform at their highest level.

“We’ll see what happens tomorrow. I think we will always play the same way whoever we have. But for Leo representing our game, it is true that we put a little more on our offensive game.

“Hopefully we can play a great game and get to the semi-finals whether Leo plays or not.”

The midfielder turned his attention to the game and how Barcelona are feeling going into it.

“The feeling is very good, very good in the sense that we have before us a strong team but we are playing to be in another Champions League semi-final and we are playing at home, with our fans.

“We need to produce an almost perfect game, and whilst unfortunately we do not have all the players, that’s always a small point, because we are all strong. We will play this game like a final.

“It is a different situation to the Milan game. Against the Italians it was a limited game. We came into the second leg with a bad result. That games serves as an example but we will approach this game for what it is, a serious match.

“We’ll see how everything goes and we will know how to play periods of the game amid the factors that surround it. We must learn to control, but we have to also come out with intensity and ambition like we did against Milan. When we play well, the opponent suffers a lot.

“PSG play well, with speed. Their players do very well with the ball and move it quickly. They attack the opponents quickly on the counter-attack as we have seen on other occasions.

“Their players are technically very good. They are a complete team with great talent. We must stay calm so as to do what we do. If we are good, our rivals will suffer more.”

Eric Abidal made his return to professional football at the weekend, after more than a year absent, having undergone a liver transplant 12 months ago.

“It was amazing that he returned to play, amazing. Beyond the situation for himself, that is, to just overcome it, he is an example to people going through difficult times.

“An example like Abi, who has returned to play, is something unique. His is an extraordinary example.”

Tags Abidal Iniesta Messi Paris Saint-Germain PSG