Will Barcelona risk Lionel Messi against PSG?
Messi is struggling for fitness ahead of the second leg but are Barcelona better off without him?
Lionel Messi was ruled out of Barcelona’s 5-0 victory over Real Mallorca on Saturday due to a hamstring injury.
The Argentine superstar tweaked the muscles whilst firing a long-range shot which went narrowly wide.
Millions of Barcelona feared the worst for the four-time Ballon D’or winner and were relieved to find out that their star player knock was not as bad as feared.
Lionel Messi is expected to make a sensational recovery and feature for Barcelona in the second leg despite being advised to take two weeks to recovery. But should Barcelona risk him?
This season, the 25-year-old has played 3,193 out of a possible 3,420 minutes in the league and Champions League- meaning he has missed only 227 minutes prior to the Mallorca game.
With Barcelona’s tie against PSG perfectly poised following their 2-2 draw in Paris, Messi’s teammates can surely complete the job without their star player. The statistics show that, in Champions League games since Messi broke into the first team in 2004, they have won 71% of their games without Messi and only 56% of games with him in the team.
Messi’s absence inevitably turns the spotlight to the other forwards in the team.
Midfielder-cum-forward Cesc Fabregas was exceptional for Barcelona against Mallorca in the Messi role bagging an impressive hat trick. Alexis Sanchez was also outstanding with two goals and a couple assists for Barcelona. David Villa did not play with the Champions League in mind.
However, Fabregas and Sanchez have managed just three goals between them in Europe. Pedro is another option although he is struggling with a calf injury but should be fit for the tie.
Lionel Messi will probably start on the bench against PSG ready to be called upon but don’t be surprise if the Argentine doesn’t feature. Barcelona need their star man fully fit for the run in.
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