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Barcelona wait on Messi for Alaves clash

Luis Enrique will continue to assess Lionel Messi ahead of Barcelona’s LaLiga match against Alaves.

Messi missed Argentina’s 2-2 draw with Venezuela on Wednesday after aggravating a groin problem during a match-winning turn in the previous World Cup qualifier versus Uruguay.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has had his training schedule tailored accordingly by Barca this week and his coach is yet to make a final call before welcoming Alaves to Camp Nou on Saturday.

“Thinking about Leo Messi, there is a lot of information behind that. There is a medical report that says what the player has,” Luis Enrique told a pre-match news conference.

“We just have to evaluate the situation as it goes on

“He trained a bit with the team this week and trained alone as well

“We have to evaluate before each game that we play and address the needs of the team.

“We know how Leo is and that’s what we have to take care of.”

Doubts over Lionel Messi’s fitness could see Paco Alcacer thrust straight into action after joining from Valencia and Luis Enrique has been impressed by the Spain international’s early work with his new club.

“I think it’s very good that he’s come into the team. Looking at his adaptation, he knows a lot of the players from the national team,” the coach said.

“He’s learning our routine and how we play. We have a great player who is ready to help us win titles and be the best player he can every day.

“He has a lot of ambition. We have reinforced the team in a very good way.”

Neymar is back among the Barcelona squad after his international exertions and Luis Enrique reported the star forward to be in high spirits, having led Brazil to Olympic glory on home soil last month.

“He looks good, I’m very happy for him to have won the gold medal in the Olympics because that is very difficult to do,” said Luis Enrique, himself a 1992 gold medallist with Spain.

“After his vacation we are seeing him very happy.”

Following a difficult start to life at Barca, Arda Turan has excelled during the opening weeks of the season, filling in impressively in Neymar’s customary left-sided attacking berth.

“I think Arda Turan started the season like the rest of the team, at a very high level,” Luis Enrique added.

“I look for him to be playing well, like he did early in the season, with the same type of ambition. To take part and play the way that we know how.

“Those are his objectives. How I will manage everything else, we will see.”

Fri 9 Sep, 2016
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