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Messi to play despite parenthood: Barcelona coach

730   //    03 Nov 2012, 12:20 IST

MADRID, SPAIN – OCTOBER 27: Lionel Messi of Barcelona celebrates after scoring his side’s 5th goal during the La Liga match between Rayo Vallecano and Barcelona at Estadio Teresa Rivero on October 27, 2012 in Madrid, Spain.

Madrid, Nov 3 – Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova said that Argentine play-maker Lionel Messi will play in the Primera Liga football against Celta Vigo here Saturday night despite becoming a father Friday.

Messi’s partner, Antonella Roccuzzo, delivered their first child, a boy, at the Dexeus hospital near Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium, reports Xinhua.

“In principle he is going to be at the game,” assured Vilanova. “We gave him permission to miss training, I think that is normal on such an important day, but if everything is OK then he will be here to play.”

“I don’t think the question will make him lose concentration, but we will have to see. He always plays very well,” said Vilanova.

Vilanova, who spent part of his playing career with Celta, admits he still feels affection for the Galician city and for the club.

“I have good memories, because they treated me very well there,” he said. “My daughter was just one year old at the time and I have happy memories, Maybe I would have liked to have played more, but I did my best at the time,” commented Vilanova, before discussing the current Celta side, which has lost all of its away games to date.

“They try and play attractive football, they keep the ball and have fast players in attack, so we will have to keep up the pace,” he said, praising Celta coach Paco Herrera for using such an open style in Celta’s return to the top flight after five years in the second division.

“Everyone sets their sides out the way they have to do so, I would rather see a team come to Barcelona to try and play football and I think Celta will do that, as it is what we have seen when we have watched them. I think it makes for a better game.”

The Barca coach confirmed that central defender Gerard Pique was on the verge of full fitness after suffering an ankle injury which has kept him out of action for six weeks. He highlighted Pique’s importance in defending set pieces.

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