Messi look­ing sharp but still a Cla­sico doubt

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

BARCELONA: Barcelona for­ward Lionel Messi is look­ing sharp in train­ing but re­mains a doubt for Satur­day’s ‘El Cla­sico’ against Real Madrid, team mate Luis Suarez said. Messi is in a fit­ness bat­tle hav­ing re­turned to train­ing on Mon­day fol­low­ing a knee in­jury he picked up at the end of Septem­ber.

“Whether he plays or not is down to the coach, the medics and how he feels but he has been look­ing sharp in train­ing. How­ever, it is the type of in­jury where there are risks for the fu­ture,” Suarez told a news con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day. “Messi is a player that makes a dif­fer­ence in all games and in Cla­si­cos he has al­ways made a big im­pact but we will have to see if he is ready.”

In the ab­sence of the four times World Player of the Year, Suarez and Neymar have ex­celled and pro­pelled Barca to a three-point lead over Real at the top of La Liga. Still Suarez is in no doubt over the value of Messi for the clash.

“Leo is above any other player due to what he has achieved and what he is still do­ing,” said Suarez. “Ney is amaz­ing, be­hind Messi and could eas­ily be the sec­ond best in the world. At the mo­ment he is play­ing in­cred­i­bly and it is great to see.

“We knew that we were go­ing to be with­out Leo and that we had to be strong both phys­i­cally and mentally. We have lost some points as have Madrid but we are happy be­cause we have picked up good re­sults with­out the best player in the world.” While Barca are look­ing for a sev­enth straight win be­tween La Liga and the Cham­pi­ons League, Real need to bat­tle back af­ter de­feat away to Sevilla be­fore the in­ter­na­tional break when they were weak de­fen­sively.

“You never know what can hap­pen in th­ese types of games and when you start as favourite it can of­ten go wrong,” said Suarez. “We will have to be fully con­cen­trated. Just be­cause Madrid lost their last game is not so im­por­tant as they have great play­ers.

“The league will not be de­cided by this game if we open up a six or four point lead as there is still a long way to go. It is not easy to win a league and there are also other teams like Atletico (Madrid).” — Reuters

SAN PE­DRO: Mex­ico’s Raul Jimenez con­trols the ball dur­ing the Rus­sia 2018 FIFA World Cup Concacaf Qual­i­fiers foot­ball match, in San Pe­dro Sula, on Tues­day. — AFP

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