Jordi Alba: We can cope without Messi

Defender Jordi Alba says it is now up to every Barcelona player to stand up and perform as the club prepares to cope without talisman Lionel Messi.

Jordi Alba: We can cope without Messi

By Dave Thornberry

Defender Jordi Alba says it is now up to every Barcelona player to stand up and perform as the club prepares to cope without talisman Lionel Messi.

Messi is facing at least three weeks out with a broken arm suffered in last weekend’s win over Sevilla.

The Argentinian star is will also miss next Sunday’s Clasico against Real Madrid as well as home and away Champions League games against Inter, starting at the Nou Camp in tonight’s Group B clash (8pm).

“No-one can replace Leo, he makes any team far better and guarantees you at least 20 goals a season,” Alba said.

“He’s’s different, he sees passes that others can’t.

“We all have to pull our weight and dig in more than ever.”

Meanwhile Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has told Paris St Germain striker Edinson Cavani he is welcome back at his former club any time before the two sides meet in Champions League Group C tonight.

The Uruguay striker spent three years with Napoli before joining PSG in 2013 in a deal worth a reported €64m.

He has since plundered 176 goals in 255 appearances for PSG, but speculation about the 31-year-old’s future in the French capital has been near-constant since the arrival of Neymar in summer 2017.

As Cavani prepares to face his former employers, his old paymaster said he would be happy to have him back.

“Cavani is always in my heart,” De Laurentiis said on RMC Sport. “I brought him from Palermo to Naples. With us, he learned to be a real striker, he always reached 30 goals a season.

Napoli will always keep the door open. The day Cavani agrees to lower his salary, and he wants to live with his two children, he is welcome back.

As prolific as Cavani has been with PSG, he did not claim any of the 10 goals they have scored in their last two matches - 5-0 routs of Lyon and Amiens - and was substituted against OL.

Cavani will not be the only man seeing old friends again on Wednesday as Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti returns to the club with whom he won the Ligue 1 title in 2013.

This is not Ancelotti’s first return to Paris, but the last one proved a bitter experience as a 3-0 loss cost him his job as Bayern Munich boss.

“Last year I came here with Bayern and I felt the confidence of only four or five players,” he said. “This year I come to Paris with Napoli and I feel the confidence of the group and of the whole club. It changes my way of feeling for the match.”

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