Not the same with­out Messi

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORT -

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.

MESSI

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