Zanetti hopes Messi is benched for Barcelona v Inter Milan

Image PA

Image PA

A draw against Inter will guarantee qualification from Group B while victory would secure top spot, with two games still to spare. Meanwhile, Jordi Alba has arguably been Barcelona's best player in the absence of Messi, and should be the left-back for the vistors, while Sergi Roberto is likely to start on the opposite flank.

Valverde's men have won the four games they have played without Messi, including beating Inter Milan 2-0 at the Nou Camp last month and also thrashing Real Madrid 5-1 in the El Clasico La Liga.

Coach Ernesto Valverde said on Friday he did not rule Messi out of playing against Inter, but said he was concerned about rushing the player back, especially as his side are on a winning run without their usual talisman.

"I expect a very complicated game, they have quality in all their lines but Inter have all the conditions to be able to beat them".

Messi is a surprise participant in the travelling squad, having apparently made a quick recovery and returning to training last week.

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Guardiola parted ways with Messi and Barcelona in 2012, and went on to manage Bayern Munich before guiding the Sky Blues to the Premier League throne last season.

"He could play, but we have to wait until after training and see how he feels".

"Inter came from a stage of difficulties but with the arrival of Suning, everything was restructured. For us it is key to have continuity in it, to be always in this constitution but beyond good results, we must be a sustainable club and grow in all areas".

"For that, we have surrounded ourselves with people who know the DNA of Inter".

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