Jordi Alba is adamant Barcelona can cope without Neymar for Thursday’s FIFA Club World Cup semi-final against Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao, insisting they can “make do without any player”.
Neymar has been in wonderful form for Barca this season, scoring 16 goals in 18 games in all competitions, but has been ruled out of the clash with the Asian champions after sustaining a groin injury ahead of last week’s clash with Bayer Leverkusen.
Although Alba was quick to recognise the Brazilian’s quality, he believes Barca have enough strength in depth to replace him adequately.
“The team’s situation couldn’t be better,” he said in remarks reported by Marca. “We know how important he [Neymar] is. Right now he’s one of the three best players in the world and we know what he brings to the team but Barcelona can make do without any player.
“We have plenty of depth in the squad, but Neymar is really important for us.”
Barca are hoping to win the tournament for a third time and Spain full-back Alba is particularly keen to add a winners’ medal to his collection.
“It’s a short competition, but we’ll try to perform as we’ve been doing in the league, the Champions League and the Spanish Cup,” he added.
“It’s the only trophy I’m missing. Some of the team have already won it but are equally as keen as I am to lift it this year. However, we have to make it to the final first, which will be really tough.”
Guangzhou, managed by Luiz Felipe Scolari, staged a dramatic late comeback to overcome America in the previous round and Alba is not taking the Chinese lightly.
“They’re tough opposition and we’ll study them ahead of the game,” he said.
“Guangzhou have silenced a lot of people. We know that they run a lot to win back the ball and pressure the opposition very high up the pitch.”