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.

 

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Stadium 19:55
Galatasaray v Club Brugge, Turk Telekom Arena 19:55
Juventus v Atletico Madrid, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Atalanta v Dinamo Zagreb, Atleti Azzurri d'Italia 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Real Madrid v Paris SG, Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Red Star Belgrade v Bayern Munchen, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Olympiacos, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Valencia v Chelsea, Mestalla 19:55
Zenit St. Petersburg v Lyon, Saint Petersburg Stadium 19:55
Liverpool v Napoli, Anfield 22:00
Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund, Camp Nou 22:00
Slavia Prague v Inter Milan, Eden Arena 22:00
Genk v Red Bull Salzburg, Luminus Arena 22:00
RB Leipzig v Benfica, Red Bull Arena 22:00
Lille v Ajax, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 22:00
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Red Bull Salzburg v Liverpool, Red Bull Arena 19:55
Napoli v Genk, San Paolo 19:55
Ajax v Valencia, Amsterdam ArenA 22:00
Benfica v Zenit St. Petersburg, da Luz 22:00
Lyon v RB Leipzig, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Inter Milan v Barcelona, San Siro 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Slavia Prague, Signal Iduna Park 22:00
Chelsea v Lille, Stamford Bridge 22:00
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Dinamo Zagreb v Manchester City, Maksimir Stadium 19:55
Shakhtar Donetsk v Atalanta, Metalist Stadium 19:55
Bayern Munchen v Tottenham Hotspur, Allianz Arena 22:00
Bayer Leverkusen v Juventus, BayArena 22:00
Club Brugge v Real Madrid, Jan Breydel Stadion 22:00
Olympiacos v Red Star Belgrade, Karaiskakis Stadium 22:00
Paris SG v Galatasaray, Parc des Princes 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Lokomotiv Moscow, Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Saturday, 30 May 2020
TBA v TBA, Ataturk Olympic Stadium 02:00
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