Barcelona, Aug 28 (IANS) Lional Messi, crowned as the best player in Europe for the 2014-2015 season, will be aiming to add to his reputation when his FC Barcelona side entertain Malaga at home in a La Liga match on Saturday.
Although Barcelona scraped home against an injury hit Athletic Club Bilbao in their opening game, there is a feeling that the sale of Pedro Rodriguez, the suspension of Gerard Pique, who serves the second of a four match ban on Saturday, and the muscle injury suffered by Dani Alves leaves Barcelona’s squad looking painfully thin, reports Xinhua.
It won’t be until January that new signings Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal can make their debuts and coach Luis Enrique has had B-team players Samper, Camera and Gumbau, one of whom has the options of making the subs’ bench.
Neymar should be back in contention to start, given that he has had over a week to train after recovering from his bout of mumps and he will form part in the attack alongside Messi and Luis Suarez.
Sergi Roberto could cover for Alves at right back after slotting into the role effectively in Bilbao last weekend, while the good news for Barca is that Sergio Busquets has recovered from the ankle injury which saw him leave the field a week ago.
It has been a difficult summer for Malaga who have lost several key players such as local boys Juanmi, Samu Garcia and Samu Castillejo all leaving the club.
Fans’ favorite Roque Santa Cruz returned to the club this week to add some more firepower, but it remains to be seen whether the veteran Paraguayan will start this weekend alongside powerful striker Nordin Amrabat.
Amrabat will be a handful for the Barcelona defense which has looked creaky this season, but with Messi, Neymar and Suarez on the pitch, it would need a brave man to bet against the title holders going into the international break with a 100 percent start to the season.