Champions League

Messi injury hurts, motivates

2015-09-28 14:51
Ivan Rakitic (AFP)

Barcelona - Lionel Messi's injury is a painful blow for Barcelona but is also a motivation for the rest of the squad, midfielder Ivan Rakitic said before the holders host Bayer Leverkusen in Champions League Group E on Tuesday.

Argentina forward Messi damaged knee ligaments in Saturday's La Liga win over Las Palmas and will be out for around eight weeks, leaving Brazil forward Neymar and Uruguay striker Luis Suarez to take on much of the goal-scoring responsibility.

Messi's absence could hand youngsters Munir el Haddadi and Sandro Ramirez a chance to impress.

"Of course it affects us a lot," Rakitic told a news conference previewing Leverkusen's visit to the Nou Camp when asked about Messi's injury.

"Not having the world's best player hurts but it also motivates us," added the Croatia international.

"A new door is opening. We have 100 percent faith in ourselves and together we can do it."

The Leverkusen players may be breathing a private sigh of relief that four-times World Player of the Year Messi is unable to play on Tuesday.

He became the first player to score five goals in a Champions League match when Barca hammered the Bundesliga side 7-1 in the 2012 round of 16.

Leverkusen's Mexico striker Javier Hernandez said he would never be pleased about an injury to a fellow professional and insisted his new club had a good chance of getting at least a point out of their trip to the Catalan capital.

Barca drew their opening Group E game at AS Roma 1-1, while Leverkusen hammered visiting BATE Borisov 4-1 and are top.

"It's always a bad thing when a player gets injured," Hernandez told Spanish sports daily Marca on Monday.

"Seeing a human being suffer is never pleasant," added the former Manchester United and Real Madrid player. "Health is the most important thing in life."

Barca are unbeaten at home in the Champions League since losing 3-0 to Bayern Munich in May 2013, their only defeat in their last 33 matches at the Nou Camp in Europe's elite club competition.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

01 November 2016
Besiktas v Napoli, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Celtic, Borussia-Park 21:45
Benfica v Dynamo Kyiv, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Barcelona, Etihad Stadium 21:45
PSV v FC Bayern München, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Paris Saint-Germain, St Jakob-Park 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v Arsenal, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v FC Rostov, Vicente Calderon 21:45
02 November 2016
FC Porto v Club Brugge, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Juventus v Lyon, Juventus Stadium 21:45
FC København v Leicester City, Parken Stadion 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Real Madrid, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Sevilla v Dinamo Zagreb, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Sporting Lisbon, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v CSKA Moscow, Stade Louis II 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Wembley 21:45
22 November 2016
CSKA Moscow v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Arena CSKA 19:00
Sporting Lisbon v Real Madrid, Estadio Jose Alvalade 21:45
Leicester City v Club Brugge, King Power Stadium 21:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Lyon, Maksimir 21:45
FC København v FC Porto, Parken Stadion 21:45
Sevilla v Juventus, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Legia Warsaw, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v Tottenham Hotspur, Stade Louis II 21:45
23 November 2016
FC Rostov v FC Bayern München, Olimp-2 Stadium 19:00
Besiktas v Benfica, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Manchester City, Borussia-Park 21:45
Celtic v Barcelona, Celtic Park 21:45
Arsenal v Paris Saint-Germain, Emirates Stadium 21:45
Napoli v Dynamo Kyiv, San Paolo 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v FC Basel, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v PSV, Vicente Calderon 21:45
06 December 2016
FC Bayern München v Atlético de Madrid, Allianz Arena 21:45
Barcelona v Borussia Mönchengladbach, Camp Nou 21:45
Benfica v Napoli, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Celtic, Etihad Stadium 21:45
Dynamo Kyiv v Besiktas, Kiev Olympic Stadium 21:45
Paris Saint-Germain v Ludogorets Razgrad, Parc des Princes 21:45
PSV v FC Rostov, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Arsenal, St Jakob-Park 21:45
07 December 2016
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Monaco, BayArena 21:45
FC Porto v Leicester City, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Club Brugge v FC København, Jan Breydelstadion 21:45
Juventus v Dinamo Zagreb, Juventus Stadium 21:45
Lyon v Sevilla, Parc OL 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Sporting Lisbon, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Santiago Bernabeu 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v CSKA Moscow, Wembley 21:45
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will be the 2015/16 Champions League top scorer?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.