Messi named in Barcelona squad for Inter clash

Image PA

Image PA

But Rayo, 19th in the table and with only one win all season, fought their way back into the game and midfielder Jose Pozo smashed an equaliser in off the post in the 35th minute.

In today's paper edition of the newspaper Rome-based Corriere dello Sport emphasizes the important role that Nerazzurri captain Mauro Icardi has when Inter host Barcelona in the Champions League.

"The latest results reinforce that and this will be a good opportunity to see if we really can play on a par with Barcelona, who represent the highest level of difficulty in football".

Lionel Messi was once again not involved, as for Barca's previous four matches.

Messi had traveled with the team to Milan but Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde opted not to risk the star forward, who hasn't played since fracturing his arm last month.

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Ahead of tonight's contest, the fourth-year man had averaged 5.5 points per game and 2.2 rebounds over 16.3 minutes this season. "It's very very hard to make a game out of it when you start like that and expend so much energy trying to get back into it".

"We know how many goals Luis and Leo have scored together", Ivan Rakitic said after the match. Barcelona remained top of the group, three points ahead of Inter and six ahead of Tottenham which beat PSV Eindhoven 2-1.

Valverde added with regard to the Italians: "They have a clear strategy, which is to always attack and be aggressive with their pressing". We can't head to London now thinking of a draw - that would be a mistake.

Inter coach Luciano Spalletti went on the defence when it was suggested his side, back in the Champions League this season for the first time since the 2011-12 campaign, would not be a fundamental part of the proposed Super League.

"We started well, but once we fell behind we stopped playing and that's a little bit worrying", said Henry of his team's performance. "That says a lot, we wanted to win and still thought we could do it". With a crunch game against title rivals Atletico Madrid coming up, Valverde may rest his key man. Ousmane Dembele is slated to replace Messi in the side.

"I think we have deserved more. we were more ambitious and we dominated the whole game".

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