Barcelona hopeful key midfielder will return for Champions League tie with Roma

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Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets

Sergio Busquets is expected to make a return to the Barcelona squad for the Champions League quarter-final first leg with Roma on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old has been out of action since breaking a bone in his foot during the second-leg tie with Chelsea in the last 16.

However, Spanish daily Marca believe the club are optimistic Busquets has recovered enough to anchor Barca’s midfield.

The Spaniard is expected to rejoin full training today and will be evaluated during the upcoming sessions.

Busquets calming influence has been missed with Paulinho’s decline worsening with each passing fixture and so boss Ernesto Valverde will hope he is back available in some capacity.

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Samuel Umtiti reveals he talked about Barcelona with Antoine Griezmann

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Ever since his move from Lyon to Barcelona, Samuel Umtiti has made a name for himself in world football, rising to become one of the best young defenders in the game.

The French international knows that his release clause is low (€60 million) and that could be triggered anytime, with top European clubs like Manchester United interested in signing him, but he is happy to stay at Barca.

Speaking in an interview with Canal Football Clubhe said, “My clause is low, everyone is conscious of that. It’s something that affects me but it doesn’t interest me.

“The truth is that there is interest from various clubs. But, once more, I’ve got so many objectives to reach at Barcelona that I’m not thinking about it. Everything goes very fast in this world. All I can say is that I’m really happy.”

The 24-year-old made it clear that no talks have taken place with other clubs. “This isn’t something I want to talk about too much. Nothing has started yet,” he said.

Umtiti is a regular starter for Ernesto Valverde‘s unbeaten La Liga leaders and forms a defensive partnership with club legend Gerard Pique.

Antoine Griezmann (L) jokes with France's defender Samuel Umtiti

“It was my dream to play at Barca. And I achieved it when I was just 22. I’m very happy here, whenever I play and whenever I train,” said Umtiti, adding that his best moment in a Blaugrana shirt was that historic 6-1 comeback against PSG in last season’s Champions League last 16 clash.

“The ‘Remontada’ against PSG is my favourite moment at this club. It showed that we can do anything. It was something very special.

“In fact, when I went to Paris after that game, and I wanted to enter a restaurant, they told me there are no tables available, when actually the entire restaurant was empty (laughs).”

Meanwhile, the hulking defender also talked about his international teammate Antoine Griezmann, who has been heavily linked with a move to Camp Nou.

Asked about his fellow Frenchman, Umtiti added: “Griezmann to Barca? I am an agent now? (laughs). Yes, we did talk about it.

“I asked Griezmann what he thought of Barca and everything about the club. As any other player, he said only good things.

“All players at the level of Antoine dream of playing here. If Griezmann comes, we will have to play with six attackers.”

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Valverde hails Barcelona's spirit as Messi helps keep unbeaten La Liga record intact

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Barca boss Valverde happy with his men.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde praised his side for not losing faith after Lionel Messi came off the bench to net a last-minute equaliser as the La Liga leaders fought back to draw 2-2 at Sevilla.

Franco Vazquez fired the home side, who are chasing a top-five finish, into the lead after 36 minutes and there looked no way back when Colombia forward Luis Muriel added another early in the second half.

Barca’s talisman, who has been carrying a hamstring problem, was sent on for the last 30 minutes and immediately lifted his team.

Even though Sevilla had missed several chances to kill off the match, Luis Suarez set up a grandstand finish before messi clipped in a dramatic equaliser.

The draw saw Valverde’s men extend their unbeaten LaLiga run to 37 matches and edged them closer to regaining the title, not to mention a confidence boost going into their Champions League quarter-final against Juventus.

“We took a chance, things were not going that well for us,” Valverde said in an interview on the club’s official website.

“In the first half, despite them creating chances, we also had some as well. It was fairly even, but they went into the break with an advantage and then scored a second just after half-time.

“They had the chance then to play on the counter-attack and when they did that we had to come back, but you know what can happen.

“However, if you have faith you can keep playing. We were looking for the goal to get us back into the game, we did and then we got the second.

“If there had been five more minutes, I don’t know what would have happened.

“This will be great for the spirit of the team because we know how important the game was to keep that run without losing going.”

Sevilla host German side Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

Head coach Vincenzo Montella admitted it was a bittersweet result.

“I’m proud of the team. We had chances to finish the game and it was painful because Barcelona have great players,” Montella said in quotes published on the club’s official website.

“You’re a bit angry of course and nervous (with Barcelona’s comeback), but I’m also proud because the team played with confidence.

“We have to improve but football is like that.

“I think this is good for Tuesday (against Bayern) because we’ll go into the game with even more enthusiasm.”

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