Lionel Messi is the 'cherry on top' of Blaugrana, says Luciano Spalletti

Lionel Messi is the 'cherry on top' of Blaugrana, says Luciano Spalletti

However, the Argentine superstar has seemingly made a miraculous recovery from a broken arm to be in contention for Tuesday's return date and has travelled with Ernesto Valverde's squad to Milan.

Luis Suarez has stepped up in front of goal, scoring five goals in his last three appearances.

"He could play at the start, come off the bench, not play at all ... everything is possible". When we talk about Barcelona, we are talking about the highest calibre of opponent in this game. "I never went to both clubs and said I want this player". More than anything because he is one more [player] and so we have more to choose from.

Racing onto Rakitic's pass and teeing up Suarez to tap in the opener at Vallecas was also Jordi Alba, who has been arguably Barca's best player this season.

"It will be hard because they're a fearless team with a way of playing that I love".

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Messi's absence opened up a gap to be filled further forward and many expected the chance to be given to the 21-year-old Ousmane Dembele.

"Against Inter in Milan we must follow the line we did against Real Madrid or Inter at home".

Rayo Vallecano fans were in good mood during the last seven minutes of the game thinking their team would record an emphatic win over Barcelona.

A draw against Inter would guarantee the Spaniards qualification to the last 16 while victory would secure top spot, with two games still to spare.

"It's the right time to show what we're worth", said Spalletti, whose side are coming off a seven-match winning streak in Serie A in which they are in second place, three points behind champions Juventus. If they must, they know they can function without him.