Barcelona defensive midfielder Sergio Busquets is prepared to take a pain-killing injection and ensure a fractured toe does not keep him out of Wednesday night’s Champions League quarter-final opener against Roma, according to AS.
Busquets, 29, suffered the injury during Barca’s 3-0 last-16 winner against Chelsea last month. This saw him miss Spain’s friendlies against Germany and Argentina, plus last Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Sevilla for the runaway La Liga leaders.
He trained with the squad in Tuesday’s final session before the meeting with the Giallorossi, with medical staff advising he should take an injection if he wants to play.
Busquets is now expected to start the tie.
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde says Wednesday’s home first leg will not be decisive in their Champions League quarter-final tie against Roma.
“I doubt very much that the tie will be won in the first leg,” the manager said during Tuesday’s press conference.
“Given the level of our opponents, it would be useful not to concede and still win, but we are aware that playing a good match won’t be enough.”
Roma topped a group that also had Chelsea and Atletico Madrid before beating Shakhtar Donetsk in the first knockout round to reach this stage.
“Watching their group games, it wasn’t a surprise that Roma were top, nor is it a surprise that they are in the quarter-finals,” Valverde said.
“They play to attack and defend with solidarity.
“We will have difficulty progressing. It is an attractive knockout tie.
“We face it with enthusiasm and a 50 percent chance of winning, just like them.”
The 54-year-old insists nobody at Barcelona is taking Roma lightly despite their status as the clear favourites to progress to the semi-finals.
“I don’t think that Roma are being belittled inside our dressing room.
“It seems that this game has already been won by our name, but it isn’t like that.
“Roma have a good positional game, they try to carry the weight of the game, their strategy is strong and they develop pressure well. Also, they are very offensive, so we will have to defend well.”
Valverde was also quick to remind everyone that despite Barcelona’s record this season – they are unbeaten in La Liga and have reached the Copa del Rey final – the side are yet to win anything, and are motivated by the hunger to finish the season with major honours in tow.
“We are very excited to win something,” the Spaniard stated.
“We haven’t won anything yet.
“We want to have the chance to win everything we can. The truth is that we have a lot of enthusiasm this season, to try and win titles.”
Left-back Jordi Alba believes Barcelona are playing better this season than they did during the treble-winning campaign of 2014-15.
“To start with the feeling is even better because we have much more consistency in our play and results,” Alba explained.
Barca are of course in the running for another historic three-trophy haul, which would be their third in nine seasons, as they first achieved the feat in 2008-09.
“The gap over our rivals in the league is very good, we’re in the final of the Copa del Rey and in the Champions League we will have to see how we do,” the Spaniard added.
“The feeling in the dressing room is positive, we know how to handle games with attack but this year we’ve improved in defence.”
“We don’t talk about the treble because there’s a long way to go, but we clearly have a chance.”