Published: Tue, November 06, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Barcelona's Ernesto Valverde - Lionel Messi training but no decision on availability

Barcelona's Ernesto Valverde - Lionel Messi training but no decision on availability

It was made explicitly clear by Barcelona coach, Ernesto Valverde, that he will be taking no chances whatsoever with Lionel Messi's fitness. One is that he plays from the start, or he comes on, or he goes off.

For the past decade, Cristiano Ronaldo has basically been given free rein on the pitch so we would have loved to be a fly on the wall when it was decided that the Juventus forward would not take every free-kick for his new club.

However the 31-year-old Argentine has travelled with the squad to the San Siro, and could yet be declared fully fit.

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Barca have done well without Messi.

The Catalan giants trailed 2-1 to Rayo entering the final stages of the match in Madrid, but Ousmane Dembele levelled the scores in the 87th minute before Suarez's second of the night secured a late win for the visitors.

Messi watched from the stands in the return fixture as Rafinha and Jordia Alba scored to give Barcelona a 2-0 victory.

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Despite having that cushion at the top, though, Valverde says his side will still be going all out for the win - a result which would see them qualify for the knockout rounds.

"Being in this situation in such a hard group is fine, and we would like to win".

The Senegalese then said that the fans can play their part in the game and that he and teammates are focused on the match. We have to prepare for the game well.

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"Right now, he's scoring goals, more goals than perhaps before".

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