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Champions League: Lionel Messi Back to Lead Barcelona Against Roma

Lionel Messi will lead the FC Barcelona attack when his side entertains AS Roma in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday night

IANS

Updated:April 4, 2018, 10:19 AM IST
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Champions League: Lionel Messi Back to Lead Barcelona Against Roma
(Image: AFP)
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Madrid: Lionel Messi will lead the FC Barcelona attack when his side entertains AS Roma in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday night.

The Argentinean only played 30 minutes of Barca's 2-2 draw away to Sevilla on Saturday due to a groin injury, but showed how important he is as he led their fight back from 0-2 down, lifting their confidence the moment he stepped onto the pitch, reports Xinhua news agency.

Messi scored a magnificent last minute equaliser to help Barcelona maintain their unbeaten record in the campaign.

Messi rested on Sunday and was able to train without problems on Monday and coach Ernesto Valverde will include him in the side alongside Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele, despite the latter's poor performance in Seville.

The rest of the side virtually picks itself, with the only doubt being whether Sergio Busquets has recovered from the broken metatarsal bone in his foot.

Everything points to Busquets being available and he will add stability to the midfield, where he will be partnered by Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic.

Meanwhile Sergi Roberto, Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti will play in defense and Marc-Andreter Stegen in goal.

Umtiti has been the subject of speculation in the press as the 60 million euro buyout clause he agreed to on his arrival at the Camp Nou in 2016 is now starting to look very tempting to other sides given his excellent performances at Barcelona.

The French international is now awaiting news over new contract talks with Barcelona, who according to the press have already got in contact with his agent to discuss terms for a new deal.

Roma are sweating on the fitness of midfielders Radja Nainggolan and Lorenzo Pellegrini ahead of the game. Belgian attacking midfielder Nainggolan was substituted at the weekend against Bologna with a muscle injury, but trained on Monday.

Bosnian striker Eden Dzeko will be back in the starting XI to lead Roma's attack as he came as a substitute during the 1-1 draw with Bologna in the Serie A.
| Edited by: Madhav Agarwal
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