NEWS
Wednesday October 24 2018
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde: No individual can replace Lionel Messi

Barcelona Coach Ernesto Valverde believes Lionel Messi’s absence is a ‘challenge’ and that only ‘collective responsibility’ can replace him.

The Argentine’s arm injury has ruled him out of the visit of Inter to the Camp Nou on Wednesday, with both sides having won their opening two Champions League games.

“Clearly his absence will affect us, but it’ll also be a challenge for us, to see if we can win even without him in the next few weeks where we have some really tough games,” Valverde told reporters ahead of the game.

“We could change our system, but not our style. We have various options but I don’t want to give the Inter Coach [Luciano Spalletti] any hints.

“One player can’t replace Leo, it’ll be a collective responsibility.

“Messi would play in any team in the world, so it’s absolutely normal that we rely on him. Now we just have to make sure his absence is felt as little as possible.

“The doctors have spoken about three weeks but we hope we can reduce that time. It’s not a muscular problem though, so I don’t think it can be reduced that much.”

“We’re waiting for an opponent who are in one of their best periods of the season.

“They’ve won seven games in a row and they never give up, they’ve won a lot of games in the last minute.

“It’ll be a good challenge with three important points at stake, points that will be be useful to take a step toward qualifying for the next round.

“We have six points, as do Inter, but we’re playing at home and we want to make home advantage count. We want to win this very important game.”

Football Italia website