Messi out for two to three weeks

Leo Messi leaving the pitch with Dr Ricard Pruna / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
Tests carried out on Sunday morning have confirmed a slight injury to his right thigh

He’ll be sidelined by the injury for about two or three weeks and so will definitely miss this week’s matches against Celtic and Valladolid

Tests carried out by the Club’s medical services this morning have confirmed the initial diagnosis that Leo Messi has suffered a slight thigh injury in his right leg.  The Argentine will be out for between two and three weeks, which means that he definitely won’t be available for the two matches coming up for FC Barcelona this week: Tuesday in Glasgow against Celtic, and Saturday in the Camp Nou against Valladolid.  That will be followed by another international break meaning that Barça will have to wait until 19th October to resume the league programme against Osasuna in Pamplona.

Messi came off injured and was replaced by Xavi after scoring the first goal against Almeria.

Recovery session for Saturday’s team with focus on Celtic

Neymar and Sergi Roberto in training this morning / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
Puyol trained with the group while Isaac Cuenca exercised separately

Youth squad players Corredera, Pedro and Theo joined the session

Tata Martino will announce his squad for the Celtic game this evening after the final whistle of the Barça B match, as he intends to include one or two reserves in his squad.

Third kit premiers in Glasgow

The players will wear the new, all black third kit  for the first time this season against Celtic.

On Sunday morning, training was a two-speed affair with Saturday’s team concentrated on recovery work while the rest of the Barça squad trained at a higher pace with the focus very much on Tuesday’s Champions League visit to Celtic.

Club captain Carles Puyol trained with the group but Isaac Cuenca exercised separately.  Youth team players Alexandre Corredera, Pedro Javier Godoy and Theo Chendri were included in the session.

Tata Martino will unveil his squad list later this evening after the Barça B match against Mallorca.  The manager has 19 first team players available to him but intends to add one or two players from the reserves.

The team will leave for Glasgow on Monday morning and train that afternoon in Celtic Park (7 pm, local time).  Before training, Tata Martino and Cesc Fàbregas will give press conferences (6.15 h, local time).

Xavi Hernández reached the impressive milestone of 450 league appearances in Almeria

Xavi has made more league appearances than any other player in the history of the Club
The midfielder has achieved this feat in just under fifteen years since making his debut in the competition

Marc Bartra topped the Barça stats for winning back the ball in Almeria

It’s the best start to a league campaign in the Club’s history and Saturday night’s match against Almeria (0-2) produced plenty of interesting facts and figures:

• Xavi came on for the injured Messi and so made his 450th league appearance for the Club.  He already holds the Club record for league appearances followed by Migueli, with 391.

• Xavi made his league debut almost fifteen years ago on 3rd October 1998 against Valencia (Barça won 1-3).

In 450 league appearances he’s been on the winning side on 282 occasions and scored 54 goals.

• Messi’s first-half goal was his eighth in the league so far.  He’s already the fifth highest scorer in the history of the competition.

Adriano Correia scored his second of the season.  His first, away to Malaga (0-1), also came without Messi on the pitch.

• Neymar Jr sat out a complete match for the first time this season.  So far he’s accumulated 593 minutes for Barça.

• Valdés has kept six clean sheets in ten matches.  Last season, the team went the opening six matches without conceding.

Dani Alves has risen into third place in the ranking of foreign players with the most Club appearances, alongside Ronald Koeman.  Messi and Cocu occupy the top two spots.
 
• With Mascherano sidelined by injury, Valdés and Piqué are the only players to have featured in every starting line-up in the ten competitive matches played so far.  And only Valdés has played every minute.

Marc Bartra started a game for the first time this season and also lasted the full 90 minutes for the first time since Barça’s 4-0 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich last season.

• The central defender topped the balls recovered stats for Barça (13) ahead of Piqué (12) and Alves (10).  Below you can see Bartra’s passes throughout the match:

Busquets: “We're happy and we hope to add to our record”

Busquets and Bartra / PHOTO: MIQUEL RUIZ - FCB
The Catalan midfielder is proud of the new Club record set this Saturday and he warns his team-mates ahead of the mid-week match away to Celtic

Training session on Sunday

The team will train on Sunday at 11.00 at the Ciutat Esportiva. The session will be closed to the public and there will be no post-training press conference.

It’s not just about victories anymore, it’s about setting new records. FC Barcelona not only secured three additional points in Almería this evening but they also broke the Club record for the best start to a league campaign: seven victories from the seven opening matches of the season. Sergio Busquets declared: “We knew that we were level with last year’s record. We’re pleased [with the victory] and we want to continue to add to our record.”

The midfielder went on to say that “we played well at the start, and they did a good job pressing us. In the second half we had more possession.” The key to the match, however, was Adriano’s goals: “Our second goal gave us a bit of tranquility. We didn’t suffer and we controlled the game.”

The negative news from the game is undoubtedly Leo Messi’s injury. Barça’s No16 hopes that his team-mate will “be out of action as little as possible, he’s a very important player for the team. I hope he recovers quickly and well.”

Barça’s next match is away to Celtic Glasgow in the second round of the Champions League group stage. Busquets warned that “it’s a difficult ground and the atmosphere is fantastic.”

Adriano the goalscorer

“I always try to do a good job when I play,” said Adriano when asked about his goal against Almería. The Brazilian went on to say that “our attack is always better when the right and left backs contribute.” He added: “The second goal gave us peace of mind and it worked out for us.”

Here are the statements made by some of the Barça players after the match:

Xavi:

“Nothing has changed. We have the same philosophy. There’s no debate within the dressing room.”

“We will try to win titles by doing the same things we’ve done in the past: Having the ball.”

“In the second half we saw the Barça everyone wanted to see.”

“We’re doing well, we’re improving. We got our win and that’s how you win league titles.”

Bartra:

“I’m happy with the victory. This is a ground where league titles are won.”

“I’m very confident in my chances. I want to bring security to our defence.”

“Piqué is a fantastic player, I’ve just started and I have a long way to go to be like him.”

Alves:

“We won’t win if we don’t improve on what we did last year.”

“The first half got away from us, in the second we had more possession and we created the chances to win the game.”

“We hope Messi’s injury isn’t serious.”

“We’ve shown our competitiveness and we try to do things in the best way possible.”

Martino: “It was a game similar to some of our previous matches"

Martino talks to Messi / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
The manager explains that there was “imprecision” in the first half and that he men improved in the second, just like in the matches against Ajax and Rayo

On Messi’s injury, he says that it may have happened “when he scored his goal”

The games against Ajax or Rayo Vallecano are similar to the game played this Saturday against Almería (0-2), where FC Barcelona secured its best ever start to a league campaign in Club history. After the match, Tata Martino said, “we didn’t control the match in the first half like we should have. In the second half we had complete control. It was similar to what we’ve seen in previous matches.”

The FC Barcelona manager went on to say that in the first half his men were “imprecise in their passing” and in the second half they improved. “What we’re looking for is to have more consistency and control our games for 90 minutes. Against Almería we played a very good half and another where our play was subpar,” he added.

Martino praises Almería

The Argentine then went on to heap praise on Barça’s rival: “I really liked Almería in the first half. In the closing 20 or 25 minutes of the first half, after Messi’s goal, they forced us back. They hurt us especially through Suso, who is a very complete footballer, and with long balls from Soriano, who received possession and would then make his pass. Perhaps their intensity in the first half somehow affected their performance in the second half.”

Messi’s injury

When asked about the injury to Messi, Martino explained: “Apparently Messi picked up small muscle strain in the backside of his right leg when he scored. It’s hard to say anything else until he undergoes additional tests.” The Club’s Medical Services will determine the severity of the injury on Sunday.