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La Liga 2016/17: Ivan Rakitic says Barcelona are not the same team without Lionel Messi

Sri Nishanth
8.44K   //    08 Oct 2016, 17:28 IST
BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 27:  Ivan Rakitic of FC Barcelona celebrates with his teammate Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona after scoring his team's second goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Granada CF at Camp Nou on September 27, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Ivan Rakitic’s work rate has boosted Messi’s game in the last two seasons

FC Barcelona’s Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic has said that it is “very different” playing without Lionel Messi, who is out injured. The Argentinian star had picked up an injury when Barcelona played host to Atletico Madrid earlier this season.

Ten minutes into the second half, Messi was seen struggling and minutes later, he was replaced by Turkey’s Arda Turan.

Lionel Messi has missed Barcelona’s last three games, two of which ended in wins, while the third game was one to forget for the Blaugrana against Celta Vigo.

Also Read: Barcelona close to recalling Lionel Messi and Samuel Umtiti into first-team training

Celta Vigo had humiliated Luis Enrique’s men with a 4-1 win last year and they scored four yet again in last week’s clash in the La Liga, while Barcelona could only manage three goals.

Messi back training

However, the good news for Barcelona fans is that their talisman Lionel Messi has started running again this week. While Luis Enrique has allowed the players not travelling with their national team a break till Monday, Diario Sport reports that Messi will be at the training ground to recover to full fitness. 

"It's very different [the team with and without Messi], one is nothing like the other. 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 to be very smart to know that," said Ivan Rakitic. 

Barcelona is hoping that Messi will be fit in time for their La Liga game against Deportivo La Coruna. However, it seems like Enrique will be reluctant to risk the Argentine even if he does recover in time.

Samuel Umtiti to return soon, too

Another important player for Barcelona, Samuel Umtiti, is expected to be fully fit to face Deportivo La Coruna. The young Frenchman has had a decent start to his career at Barcelona so far and will look to seal a spot as the first choice defender in the near future.

Also Read: Neymar to return soon to Barcelona

The Catalan club may have both Umtiti and Messi back from injury, but a new problem arose when Jordi Alba left the Spain camp with a hamstring problem sustained in the World Cup qualifying draw with Italy on Friday.

Barcelona’s first-choice left back is now expected to be replaced by new signing Lucas Digne in the first-team for their next game. 

Both Lionel Messi and Samuel Umtiti will hope to be fully fit for their game against Manchester City on 19th October in the Champions League. Barca is currently on top of their group with two wins from two games, however, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are not far behind on four points.

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Sri Nishanth
Third year Sports Management student studying at Loughborough University. From Chennai, India and based in Loughborough, UK.
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