Ernesto Valverde hails impact of injured Lionel Messi


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Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has hailed the impact of Lionel Messi, who came off the bench to salvage a point against Sevilla despite still carrying an injury.

The Blaugrana looked in real danger of losing their unbeaten record in La Liga this season, as they trailed 2-0 at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan with just two minutes remaining.

However, goals from Luis Suarez and Messi helped salvage Barca an unlikely point and further enhance their chances of claiming a third La Liga crown in just four seasons.

Argentina international Messi entered the field as a second-half substitute, as he had been struggling with a muscular injury over recent weeks, but Valverde was delighted with the impact of the forward.

“I had planned to bring on Messi anyway,” the coach told Movistar.

“He’s injured but he’s been inactive for a while and we thought it would be better for him to play to get some rhythm of competition.”

Valverde also confirmed that Messi should be fit to play a full part when Barcelona take on Roma in the first-leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie at the Camp Nou on Wednesday.

“He was decisive. We think he’ll be okay for Roma [on Wednesday],” Valverde added.

Barcelona are priced at 1.22 to secure a first-leg advantage against the Giallorossi, who are available at 11.00, while the draw is on offer at 6.00.

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