Football

Barcelona can cope without Lionel Messi, says Martino

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Gerardo Martino insists that his Barcelona side can cope without injured stars Lionel Messi and Victor Valdes.

The La Liga leaders have been hit with an injury crisis of late and have a number of first team players currently unavailable for selection.

The obvious absentee is their talismanic striker and four-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi, who is expected to be out until the middle of January with a hamstring problem.

Barcelona's long-standing number one goalkeeper Valdes is also expected to miss six weeks after sustaining a calf injury whilst on international duty with Spain.

But Martino believes the Blaugrana will cope without their stars.

He told reporters in a press conference: "We will be without the best player in the world and without the best shot-stopper in the world, but I have little doubt that we will cope without them. We have some great players to replace them.

"I don't think that we will be weaker because of our injury problems. Situations like this only make us stronger."

One player tipped to fill the void left by Messi is Brazilian sensation Neymar, who moved to the Nou Camp from Santos in the summer.

Martino says that Neymar's situation hasn't changed, however, and that he isn't expecting him to make up for the loss of the diminutive Argentinian.

"Neymar has been doing very well ever since he got here and I don't think that his situation changes due to Messi's absence," he reasoned. "There's no extra pressure on him."

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Topics:
Football
Lionel Messi
Barcelona
La Liga

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