Messi makes playing for Barcelona easier - Dembele

Antoine Griezmann surpassed Fernando Torres with his 130th goal for Atletico Madrid

Antoine Griezmann surpassed Fernando Torres with his 130th goal for Atletico Madrid

Ernesto Valverde appeared in a press conference on Monday ahead of the Champions Leaguer game against Lyon this week.

"In the first leg, you need to have a high guard - we will take this into account. I do not have much more to say, we'll see on Tuesday".

Barcelona came into this season spurred on by a desire to end Real Madrid's recent dominance in Europe as they look to lift the Champions League trophy for the first time since 2015.

The Argentine seems to think so too - in his first speech as captain back in August, he pledged to do "everything possible to bring that lovely trophy back to the Nou Camp".

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Having Lionel Messi in your team is always a good enough reason to be confident, but Barça's best performances this season have come in the Champions League, the one tournament the team really wants to win this year.

Despite winning three of the last four La Liga titles and collecting the Copa del Rey four years in a row, there is a widespread feeling that Barca should have fared better on the continent, especially while Messi has been at his peak.

Valverde pointed out that his team had performed well on the road in this season's group stage, taking seven points from a possible nine and notably beating Tottenham Hotspur 4-2 at Wembley.

Valverde has welcomed back former Lyon defender Samuel Umtiti into his squad after injury, but Brazilian midfielder Arthur and centre-back Thomas Vermaelen are both absent.

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The second half was lacking in intensity, as opportunities became more infrequent and Barca had to be content with returning to Camp Nou for the second leg on March 13 without an away goal.

Lyon's biggest problem is that captain Nabil Fekir will miss the first leg. As ever, join me for all the latest team news, build up and goals from the game as they go in!

The striker has not scored in his last five games, which is bad enough when leading the line for Barcelona, but his malaise looks far worse in a European context. On that edition, he scored important away goals against Manchester City and PSG.

"They are two teams who have the same way of playing - they like to have possession of the ball, and they like to attack", said Lyon coach Bruno Genesio, whose team also beat Paris Saint-Germain at home in Ligue 1 recently.

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The man who also turned out for Inter Milan has even gone to the lengths of predicting a score for tonight's first leg. Winger Kingsley Coman is also fit, while Franck Ribery will be available after his wife gave birth to their new child.


"We are eager to play because we've been waiting for the game for a while, and we're under pressure because we know the enthusiasm of our fans".

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