Not the same without Messi
BARCELONA MIDFIELDER Ivan Rakitic admitted that playing without Lionel Messi in the team was a “very different” experience.
Messi has missed Barca’s last three games, including last weekend’s 4-3 loss at Celta Vigo, but has started running again this week.
“It’s very different [the team with and without Messi]; one is nothing like the other,” said Rakitic.
“We know the importance Leo has for us, but there’s a squad; and we have to continue moving forward. But it’s very different playing without Leo. You don’t have be very smart to know that.”
Coach Luis Enrique has given those of his players not with their national teams time off until Monday, but the Argentinian is expected to be at the team’s training base on the weekend to continue his rehabilitation as he looks to make a return in next week’s La Liga contest against Deportivo La Coruna.
He was diagnosed to miss three weeks of action.
Barca are also hoping that French defender Samuel Umtiti will be fit for Depor’s visit.
Umtiti injured his knee in training ahead of September’s draw with Atletico Madrid, but trained this week.
However, Barca have been dealt a new injury blow with Friday’s news that Jordi Alba has left the Spain camp with a hamstring problem sustained in the World Cup qualifying draw with Italy on Thursday.