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Pique anxious for Messi return despite Clasico success

SoccerNews in La Liga 28 Oct 2018

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Barcelona comprehensively crushed Real Madrid in El Clasico but Gerard Pique remains as eager as ever to welcome back Lionel Messi.

Luis Suarez scored a stellar hat-trick as the LaLiga leaders humiliated their rivals 5-1 on Sunday and almost certainly ended Julen Lopetegui’s ill-fated time in charge.

The one-sided contest provided a convincing answer to Barca’s ability to cope in Messi’s injury-enforced absence, the superstar forward having fractured his arm against Sevilla last weekend.

Pique praised the collective response to the setback, which included a 2-0 win over Inter in the Champions League on Wednesday.

“When you don’t have your best player, everyone has to step up,” the defender told reporters.

“Everyone was wondering how we would respond since he got injured. We did it as we had to do, by playing as a team.

“I feel very happy because it’s an important result. But the sooner Messi recovers, the better.”

Jordi Alba was instrumental to filling the void in wide areas as the left-back set up Philippe Coutinho’s opener and helped blanket an ineffective Gareth Bale.

Pique, who retired from international duty after the World Cup, encouraged Luis Enrique to reward his fellow defender with a Spain recall.

“The full-backs were really good,” he said. “I hope Lucho [Luis Enrique] rectifies the situation and brings Jordi back into the squad.”

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