Champions League: Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde hints at Lionel Messi's return for opener against Borussia Dortmund

Messi, who has missed the beginning of the season with a calf injury, was named in Barcelona's squad for Tuesday's Champions League opener, though it remains unclear whether the Argentinian will play.

Agence France-Presse September 17, 2019 09:20:55 IST
Champions League: Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde hints at Lionel Messi's return for opener against Borussia Dortmund
  • Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said that Lionel Messi could make his comeback against Borussia Dortmund in team's Champions League opener

  • Messi, who has missed the beginning of the season with a calf injury, was named in Barcelona's squad though it remains unclear whether he will play

  • Valverde said that Barcelona were looking to put the past behind them after their dramatic semi-final defeat to eventual winners Liverpool in last season's Champions League.

Berlin: Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said on Monday that Lionel Messi could make his comeback against Borussia Dortmund as the Catalan giants launch a fresh assault on the Champions League title in Germany on Tuesday evening.

Messi, who has missed the beginning of the season with a calf injury, was named in Barcelona's squad for Tuesday's Champions League opener, though it remains unclear whether the Argentinian will play.

Champions League Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde hints at Lionel Messis return for opener against Borussia Dortmund

File image of Barcelona forward Lionel Messi. Reuters

"We will decide tomorrow. For the last week we have been unsure whether he will be able to play, but he has trained two or three times and made a good impression. We will see," said Valverde at a press conference on Monday.

The Barcelona coach refused to say whether 16-year-old Ansu Fati, who became the club's youngest ever goalscorer earlier this month, would break another record by becoming the youngest ever Champions League debutant on Tuesday.

"If he plays, then it will not be because of the record," said the coach.

Valverde said that his team were looking to put the past behind them after their dramatic semi-final defeat to eventual winners Liverpool in last season's Champions League.

"If you have one bad day, you can be knocked out of this competition. We lost just one match last season, but it was a decisive match," he said, adding that Barcelona wanted to go further this year than they had in the past two seasons.

Yet Marc Ter Stegen, Barcelona's German keeper, who played under current Dortmund coach Lucien Favre at Borussia Moenchengladbach earlier in his career, warned that Dortmund would provide a tough first test.

"Lucien Favre is one of the best coaches I have ever worked under, and he will have thought of a way to hurt us," said the German.

"It is always difficult to come here, and we always struggled here with 'Gladbach, but we will try to win and get a good start to the competition."

"It is a spectacular stadium and the supporters are always crazy, but we will try not to be influenced by that."

Barcelona have conceded six goals in four games this season and are yet to win away from home.

"We are conceding a lot of goals at the moment, we have to accept that and try to improve," Ter Stegen

"Some of the mistakes we are making are easy to correct."

Updated Date:

also read

LaLiga: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao present alternative league investment plan
Sports

LaLiga: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao present alternative league investment plan

The detractors reiterated their position in a letter sent to fellow league members, calling it "ruinous for Spanish football and, besides, with serious irregularities."

Champions League: Benfica to give Barcelona early test of convictions under Xavi
Sports

Champions League: Benfica to give Barcelona early test of convictions under Xavi

Xavi’s rescue mission encounters its first major test on Tuesday as Barcelona face Benfica in a game that could decide the scrap in Group E to qualify for the Champions League last 16.

Champions League: Man City, PSG and Real Madrid qualify for last 16; Milan beat Atletico
Sports

Champions League: Man City, PSG and Real Madrid qualify for last 16; Milan beat Atletico

Gabriel Jesus tapped in from Bernardo Silva's deft knockdown on 76 minutes to settle an absorbing match at the Etihad after Raheem Sterling had cancelled out Kylian Mbappe's goal.