No player can replace Messi: Barca coach


Sports | Written by : IANS| Updated: Wed, Oct 24, 2018, 12:29 AM


No player can replace Messi: Barca coach

Madrid  :  FC Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde admitted his side will miss injured striker Lionel Messi, but hopes that others can help compensate for the loss of the Argentinean.

Messi will be out of action for around three weeks and miss 6 games after breaking a bone in his right arm on Saturday, with the first of those matches Barca's Champions League tie at home to Inter Milan on Wednesday night, reports Xinhua news agency.

"It is going to affect us, but it is a challenge to replace him and then will be game," said Valverde in his pre-game press conference.

"Leo is not going to be with us for a while, we will miss him, but we want to miss him and still win games," he said.

Valverde commented that it was "difficult" for any one player to replace Messi. 

"We have to try to ensure that it is not just one player, but more. All of the squad has to take a step forward," he insisted.

The Barca coach explained there were "various" alternatives to Messi.

"We could change our tactics, but I am not going to help the rival coach by talking too much about that ... I know the squad," he commented.

When asked about specific players, Valverde preferred to avoid the question, saying "all of them have to be ready."

He admitted he wasn't worried by the term 'Messi-dependence' because "Messi would make the difference in any team in the world. He is the best player we have seen and it's normal for that to happen, but we also need the other players." 

The Barca coach doesn't expect to see Messi back before the three-week recovery time stipulated by the club doctors.

"I'd like to say we are going to have a surprise, but I don't think that's going to be the case," commented Valverde.