Lionel Messi picked up a hamstring injury in the first leg of the quarterfinals against Paris Saint-Germain and was substituted at halftime. He did not play in Barcelona's match against Mallorca this past weekend.
Some think Tito Vilanova's men cannot operate without the Argentine. Messi is the heartbeat of Barcelona, and when he is not playing, Barcelona will find it more difficult to win matches.
Barca had the lead at halftime in the first leg against PSG but conceded two later on. The game ended in a 2-2 draw.
All of this happened when Messi was not on the field.
In the La Liga match on Saturday that Messi was forced to sit out, Barca won 5-0. No Messi, no problem.
PSG is not Mallorca. The French team is far superior, with more star power and a far larger payroll, but expect Barca to defeat Carlo Ancelotti's men with or without Messi in the squad.
Lionel Messi is the best player in the world. It's quite plausible to think that Barcelona is a weaker team without Messi in the lineup. But it isn't.
Barca is made up of many key Spanish National Team players. Gerard Pique, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas are all important players for Spain. To say that without Messi Barcelona cannot possibly beat PSG would be disrespectful to these players.
Spain has won the past three major championships, am I wrong? Messi plays for Argentina.
Most of Barcelona's players have been playing together for years, whether for Barca or their national teams. It is not a conglomerate of players brought together by money. These players know each other well and understand each other's games.
Whether or not Messi's on the field for the second leg, it does not matter. Barcelona is not weak without him.
Fabregas stepped up on Saturday against Mallorca to net his first career hat trick. Either Fabregas or another player will step up again. Barcelona isn't going to lie down simply because Messi isn't playing.
Messi is magical, but so is Xavi and Iniesta. Barcelona did not win its numerous championships by hopping on Messi's back. He is a benefactor of the team's play. The 11 players who will take the field for Barca against PSG will be strong regardless of Messi's inclusion or absence.
PSG will put up a fight, but Barca will still come out on top. With Messi or without him, it does not matter.
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