Barcelona vs. PSG  1 - 1

Article

Alba admits Messi took risks despite injury

15 May 2013 20:46

Jordi Alba has revealed that Lionel Messi took risks to help Barcelona secure the Liga title despite his recent hamstring injury.

The Argentina international picked up the injury during the club's UEFA Champions League quarter-final with Paris Saint-Germain but got frustrated that he had not recovered fully to help his team and played through the pain barrier.

It was evident during their run-in that Messi was not fully fit but Alba admitted he took too many risks in his attempt to return from injury.

"He is the best player in the world," he said. "It is normal that he got annoyed about his injury, but he took risks to be with the team.

"When he did not play it was because he could not. I do not know about 'Messidependencia' (Messi-dependent) but he helps a lot.

"On many occasions we depend on him, but we also have other players who are very good."

Alba joined Barcelona at the start of the season following a successful campaign with Valencia and impressive performances at Euro 2012, and the full-back is happy with his first season at the club, which has yielded league honours.

"To sign for Barcelona is maybe the best thing that could have happened to me," he continued. "We went through difficult moments, but at the end we were able to lift the club to a trophy as important as La Liga."

Barcelona are expected to bring in reinforcements for next season having struggled at times in the Champions League with injuries to key players.

One player who has been linked with the club is Neymar, and Alba admitted he is a big admirer of the 21-year-old but did not know whether he would be playing at Camp Nou next season.

"I do not know if (Neymar) will come or not," he added. "He is a great player. In Brazil he is showing he is a different type of footballer.

"But you would have to ask the board. The coaches and directors will reinforce the team where they believe it is needed. The team looks good to me, with a future and a present."

Article

Ancelotti hails PSG progress

13 April 2013 07:58

Carlo Ancelotti believes Paris Saint-Germain will be considered a force to be reckoned with after their narrow defeat to Barcelona.

PSG bowed out of the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals on away goals following a 3-3 aggregate draw with La Liga leaders Barca, having led in the second leg at Camp Nou on Wednesday.

Ancelotti, twice a Champions League winner as a coach with AC Milan, expects the continent's best to sit up and take notice of the team from the Parc des Princes.

"Everybody admits now that PSG are a very important team in Europe," he said.

"For this reason, I think it will not be difficult to recruit new players (for next season). Paris has became an important place this year and it could become more important the next year.

"We had a great opportunity to progress to the semi-finals. But we were not able to win. This game was very important for us. The team showed that it was competitive against all the major teams. And to be competitive in Europe was the objective this season, we showed that.

"I was surprised to see a team with this courage, this character, this personality. We played our best game this season against one of the best teams in the world. It could be a good start. With this beginning, PSG can expect a great future."

PSG return to domestic action away to struggling Troyes on Saturday.

While Ancelotti cautioned against complacency going into a game against a team bottom of the table, he intends to keep faith with the players who gave such a good account of themselves last week.

"After the game against Barcelona, I don't want to change anything," he said.

"A team who plays like it played Wednesday, should not change. At this moment, I cannot think of replacing any players. Because all the players did a great job against Barcelona.

"Against Troyes, it will be different.

"We have to show concentration because Troyes is a team fighting not to go down. They will be motivated against us. They will play a strong game. We have to be ready to play a difficult opposition."

Article

Ancelotti has no regrets over PSG exit

12 April 2013 19:43

Carlo Ancelotti says Paris Saint-Germain can have no regrets after being knocked out the Champions League by Barcelona.

Ancelotti thinks the team's performance in the second leg at Camp Nou was very impressive and it has laid down a marker for success on the European stage in the future.

The French side were 3-2 ahead on aggregate in the tie before a Pedro equaliser put the Spanish club through on away goals.

The two-time Champions League-winning coach with AC Milan says the team has now put it behind them and are instead focusing on Ligue 1.

"The disappointment is over and we have no regrets, because we have done everything we can," Ancelotti said on Friday.

"We did not win, but the team showed it could be competitive in Europe and that was the goal this season. It was even a surprise for me to see a team with so much courage and character.

"It was probably one of the best games of the season against one of the best teams in the world, it is a good starting point for the future.

"The team did not lack anything. We defended well and attacked well, maybe one more goal in the first period would have been good. I am proud because I had never seen Barcelona face the same problems as they did against us. The only regrets we have are from the first leg."

Ancelotti's charges are seven points clear at the top of Ligue 1 and are well-placed to take the French crown.

And the 53-year-old coach was quick to turn the club's concentration to clinching the domestic title, starting with a win against bottom side Troyes on Saturday.

"We will be focused on tomorrow's game because it's a tough game," he said.

"We are approaching the end of the season, and every game is important now to climb the steps up to the title. After 18 years, we can win the league title. It is not hard to find motivation.

"We will show a lot of concentration because Troyes are playing for survival but we will be ready. If we win tomorrow, we will be 10 points ahead of Marseille before they play against Lille on Sunday, then we can sleep well.

"Maybe I'll make some changes because everyone has not fully recovered yet. Barcelona pumped a lot of energy out of us."

Article

Messi endorses fitness gamble

12 April 2013 08:36

Lionel Messi says he is glad he risked himself in Barcelona's Champions League quarter-final second leg against Paris Saint-Germain.

The 25-year-old picked up a hamstring injury in the first leg of the last-eight clash with the Ligue 1 side and began the return at Camp Nou on the bench.

But after Javier Pastore put PSG 1-0 up in the return, Messi was introduced in a bid to change the course of the tie.

His impact led to Pedro's equalising goal, sending Barca through on away goals.

"It was worth risking, we are now through to the semi-finals and we will now work to heal the injury," Messi told Chinese social network Tencent Weibo.

Barca will face one of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund over two legs, with the draw to be held on Friday.

Article

Barton pays tribute to PSG

11 April 2013 19:48

Marseille midfielder Joey Barton has described Paris Saint-Germain's performance against Barcelona as a great advert for Ligue 1.

Carlo Ancelotti's side were narrowly beaten on away goals after their 1-1 draw at Camp Nou on Wednesday, having drawn the first leg 2-2, and Barton believes they deserve recognition for their impressive showing in the quarter-final.

"Gallant effort from PSG. Unbeaten in two games against Barca. Unlucky to go out. Great advert for French league," he wrote on his personal Twitter account.

The positive comments come just days before Barton is due to face the FFF ethics committee after derogatory remarks he posted about PSG defender Thiago Silva.

Pedro's second-half strike earned Barcelona's passage to their sixth-straight Champions League semi-final after Javier Pastore had given PSG the lead.

Tito Vilanova's men go into Friday morning's draw along with Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.

Article

Van der Wiel: PSG should be proud

11 April 2013 16:00

Gregory van der Wiel feels his Paris Saint-Germain side should be proud of their effort against Barcelona in the Champions League.

PSG held Barca to a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou on Wednesday after previously recording a 2-2 draw in the first-leg of their quarter-final, but the underdogs were eliminated on the away-goals rule.

The French side had led heading into the final 20 minutes of Wednesday's match thanks to a Javier Pastore goal, but a scorching equaliser from Pedro was enough to send the Catalans into the last four.

"Of course we are proud; we did a great job against one of the best teams in the world. We've drawn twice against Barcelona so that's certainly something to be proud of," Van der Wiel told Uefa.com.

"You have to watch out for Barcelona, you can't let them play their game. We had to press them as much as possible and, most importantly, to have the courage to play our own game.

"It could be that Barcelona are a different team when (Lionel) Messi doesn't play. We all know he's a fantastic footballer, he can decide games on his own. But tonight we had the chance to win here.

"You saw the crowd when he came on and how they reacted. I guess it was a big boost to the team too.

"Of course we leave a little disappointed but most of all we can be proud of how far we have come."

Javier Pastore, meanwhile, was also pleased with PSG's performance but admitted it is nearly impossible to stop Barcelona from scoring.

"We produced a great display," the Argentine said. "We showed that you can play well here and you can attack Barcelona.

"Unfortunately they found the goal they needed to put them in the last four. (Lionel) Messi was their decisive player.

"Once they scored they were a different proposition. They were relaxed and playing as they like to. It was imperative we stopped them scoring but it seems they always get a goal at Camp Nou."

Article

Pedro hails Messi impact

11 April 2013 07:46

Pedro Rodriguez says Lionel Messi is to thank for guiding Barcelona into the Champions League semi-finals.

Messi, in doubt due to a minor hamstring problem, sat on the bench for over an hour, and in his absence Barca struggled, falling behind to a Javier Pastore strike five minutes into the second half at Camp Nou.

But the Argentine left his fingerprints all over the game shortly after his 62nd-minute introduction, as his driving run opened up the defence, eventually allowing Pedro to rifle home the equaliser and send Barca through on away goals.

And despite scoring the all-important goal, Pedro was quick to lead the acclaim for Messi, telling reporters: "Messi is a very important player and he put in a great effort (after coming on).He was the catalyst, we changed after he came on and we have to thank him for that.

"PSG are great rivals and perhaps it took us a while to get into our rhythm at the start. We're very happy. I think having managed to get the (all-important) equaliser in the end we deserved to go through."

David Villa also heaped praise on Messi's game-changing display, saying: "Leo is the best player in the world, his sole presence changes a game. I congratulate him for the commitment he showed with the club and with us."

Villa, who supplied the assist for Pedro's goal, went on to share his thoughts on his team’s experience in the game.

"We struggled a lot, PSG's counter-attacks were dangerous and lethal, they were in our side of the field a lot but despite that, I think we did well," he said.

“We knew about their weapons, with a lot of good counter-attacking players, but we still conceded many balls and crosses, which doesn't happen to us often on other days.

"I'm very happy after suffering a lot, it's a good way to win. We're very happy to be in the semi-finals and now we will wait for the draw. The semi-finals will be complicated no matter the opponent."

Barca could face Real Madrid in a repeat of the 2010/11 semi-finals, with Jose Mourinho's men also in Friday's draw after dispatching Galatasaray in the last eight.

Article

Roura: Messi changed the game

11 April 2013 02:23

Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura lauded Lionel Messi after he came on to help them through to the Champions League semi-final.

Messi was involved in the build-up play to Pedro's equaliser as he darted in behind the PSG midfield before finding David Villa, who laid the ball off to Pedro to fire home.

Roura said it was always planned for the Argentina international to play if things were not working out and that his introduction changed the game.

"We agreed with him before the match that he would come on if things weren't going well. And that's what we did," Roura told AS.

"He's such an important player that his presence affected the game. His introduction influenced our opponent. He showed his capacity to compete."

Roura, who was in temporary charge while Tito Villanova received treatment for cancer, was quick to praise the club for their consistency over recent seasons after they advanced on away goals, 3-3 on aggregate - creating a new record in the process.

"The team showed what they're made of. Reaching (a record) six consecutive Champions League semi-finals is a real achievement.”

Barcelona will face either arch-rivals Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund in the last four of the competition. The draw will be made in Zurich on Friday.

Article

UEFA Champions League: Barcelona 1 PSG 1 (agg 3-3)

10 April 2013 23:13

Barcelona were forced to dig deep to book their place in the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday.

The away goals rule enabled the Spaniards to escape with a 3-3 aggregate win after they could only manage a 1-1 draw against Paris Saint-Germain in their quarter-final second-leg at Camp Nou.

With Lionel Messi at less than full fitness and consigned to the bench for over an hour, the Catalans appeared blunt up front, and were run ragged at the back by the ferocity of PSG's counterattacking approach.

And it was one such sequence that saw the Ligue 1 side break the deadlock minutes into the second-half, as Javier Pastore cleverly finished from Zlatan Ibrahimovic's through pass to round off a magnificent break.

But Messi's arrival in the latter stages of the second half swung the tie on its head, and with 71 minutes on the clock, a driving run from the Argentine was critical in setting up Pedro for a superbly-taken equaliser.

Barca held on in the remaining minutes to ensure their progression, joining Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and eternal rivals Real Madrid in the hat for the last four draw on Friday.

Xavi could have got the ball rolling as early as the third minute when his 20-yard free-kick was curled agonisingly wide of the top corner, with Salvatore Sirigu beaten.

Exequiel Lavezzi was proving himself to be a menace on the break, but his finishing let him down more than once. The Argentine drilled over the bar after wriggling free at the top of the box, before firing straight at Victor Valdes with the goal at his mercy.

Pedro forced Sirigu into a safety-first parry at the near post, missing the rebound to boot, but by far, the better chances belonged to PSG who, at times, had Barca on the ropes.

With half an hour gone, Ibrahimovic did excellently to stand a cross up at the far post, where Lucas connected with a header, but Valdes was there to tip over, and the keeper also stood tall to thwart Alex from the resulting corner.

Five minutes into the second half, PSG carved the Catalans completely apart. Lucas and Ibrahimovic were both involved, with the latter slipping in Pastore for a delicate finish.

Pastore could have had another just before the hour mark when he strode into the area to meet Ibrahimovic’s low cross, but this time, he scuffed his shot.

Messi had already been put through his paces since the opening goal, and with 28 minutes remaining, he made his appearance off the bench, replacing the disappointing Fabregas.

And the Argentine was barely on the pitch for 10 minutes before making his presence felt, accelerating straight through the midfield and finding David Villa, who teed up Pedro to rifle home an exquisite equaliser from 18 yards.

Iniesta came close to putting the finishing touches on the tie with a mazy run through the defence with minutes remaining, but he could not place his angled finish anywhere but the side netting.

Article

Ibrahimovic talks up value of Beckham

10 April 2013 11:28

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has praised Paris Saint-Germain team-mate David Beckham Champions League quarter-final second leg against Barcelona.

The Englishman has received his fair share of criticism since his move to the Ligue 1 leaders in January but Ibrahimovic has insisted Beckham is a key figure for PSG.

"I think he has been very important for us. Because in the situation that we are in now, the club has been changing from a normal club to a top club, and Beckham gives you some kind of confidence," the Swedish striker told CNN.

"He has the responsibility, on the pitch and off the pitch, to lead the way for these two months which is very important.

"He has a quality, a big quality; he has a touch that I haven't seen many players have. And he is very elegant when he plays."

The Sweden international then went on to voice his opinion that Beckham's arrival not only benefits PSG but that it is a good thing for him personally, too.

"I think it's good for me that Beckham came so he gets more attention than me, so they leave me a little bit alone," he said.

"When I came here everybody said 'don't worry, as a football player you can walk in the city and nobody will disturb you. Because as a football player here it is not like it is in Italy'.

"But since the day I came here it's been totally stressful. Everybody is chasing me with their scooters; I don't even walk in the streets. When David came he got more of the media attraction, so that's good because he takes care of that and I can play football, focus on football."

Article

Ancelotti, PSG will go for broke

10 April 2013 02:28

Paris Saint-Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti believes the Ligue 1 giants have nothing to lose in their second leg against Barcelona.

Ancelotti's men held the La Liga leaders to a 2-2 draw at Parc des Princes in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final, but are being given little chance of advancing.

The Italian said PSG had already proved they are a rising force in Europe, even if they fail to make the semi-finals.

"Nothing will change at PSG even if we don't make it to the semi-finals," Ancelotti said on Tuesday.

"The future is fantastic whether we win or lose. We will try to win it next year if we don't win the Champions League this season.

"PSG are happy to be here because it'll be a fantastic night. Everyone knows we have a small chance of making it, but we do have a chance nonetheless."

A late goal from Blaise Matuidi saw PSG secure the 2-2 draw at home and they will face a Barcelona side likely to be without the injured Lionel Messi.

Ancelotti is unconcerned about his side's failure to win at home and said PSG needed to take positive out of the first leg.

"We proved we can play well against a fantastic team," he said.

"We have to have confidence to play against one of the best teams in the world. We need confidence and character.

"We can't think about our mistakes but about what we did well in the first leg. So, therefore, I am not worried."

Ancelotti also suggested midfielder David Beckham was a chance to start against Barcelona despite some criticism for his performance in the first leg, which he started and play 69 minutes in.

"One person criticised and one person was happy and it doesn't matter because I was happy with David Beckham," he said.

"Beckham has to be happy because when the manager is happy, he has a lot of possibility to play. I don't know if he will play tomorrow but in the home game he was good."

Article

Roura confident Barcelona can win without Messi

9 April 2013 18:58

Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura is confident his side can make the semi-finals of the Champions League with or without Lionel Messi.

The Argentina international is a doubt for the quarter-final second leg against Paris Saint-Germain after picking up a hamstring injury in the reverse fixture last week.

Roura believes missing 'the world's best player' would be a handicap but has backed his side to deliver once again.

"If Messi can't play, evidently we miss the best player in the world and that's a handicap for us, but his replacement will play well, too and we will try to win the match," Roura said.

"If he plays it's because there's a guarantee he can play. But we have to be patient and wait on the medical tests, which are vital to taking a final decision.

"We need to wait until tonight (Tuesday) and tomorrow to see about Messi, Pedro and Adriano. The feeling we have is positive, but we have to wait for the training sessions before we take a decision."

Roura added that he was happy with the draw in Paris and the two away goals, but thinks PSG will be just as dangerous and that Barcelona will have to be at their best to progress.

"Every match and every team is different and every encounter between two teams is different. I like the 2-2 (draw) we got in Paris," he said.

"We have to face Wednesday's match like a final, play a very intense game and our intention is to win this match, like all our games. We have to try to win from the off.

"I don't think PSG will change their style for this match compared to what they did in Paris. We know them well, they are dangerous on the counter-attack, but we're used to these matches and these teams and this can't change our way of playing.

"We have to win the match and that will guarantee a semi-final ticket for us, our sixth successive participation at that stage."

Article

UEFA Champions League preview: Barcelona v PSG

9 April 2013 14:54

Barcelona head into their midweek Champions League quarter-final clash with PSG buoyed by a 5-0 win over Mallorca in La Liga on Saturday.

The Catalans' European hopes were thought to be in jeopardy after star Lionel Messi suffered a hamstring strain in last week's 2-2 first-leg draw in Paris.

The Argentine is likely to miss Wednesday's return leg at Camp Nou, but Barca certainly did not feel his absence in a commanding display in Spain's top flight over the weekend.

Messi's injury leaves the second leg shrouded with an air of mystery but whether it will play into the hands of the visitors depends on how they choose to exploit his absence.

The Spanish giants hold the edge with their two crucial away goals but the manner in which PSG fought back last week - when Blaise Matuidi netted an equaliser four minutes from time - suggested there is still plenty of battle left in them.

Cesc Fabregas replaced Messi on Saturday and eased anxieties with a neatly taken hat-trick, while Alexis Sanchez chimed in with a double.

Barcelona will also be buoyed by the returns of defender Eric Abidal from a liver transplant and coach Tito Vilanova from cancer treatment.

PSG, meanwhile, continued their solid form in Ligue 1 with a comfortable 2-0 win over Stade Rennes.

Carlo Ancelotti fielded a largely second string side in preparation for Wednesday's clash, rotating Ezequiel Lavezzi, Javier Pastore and David Beckham, who the Italian insisted would start against Barcelona.

Brazil centre back Thiago Silva missed and is a doubt with a knee injury he sustained in the first leg, while first-leg hero Matuidi is ruled out through suspension.

Clement Chantome should come in to sit alongside Beckham in central midfield.

Article

Thiago Silva open to Barca switch

9 April 2013 12:03

Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva says he would be open to a move to Barcelona if the Liga giants came knocking again.

Barca reportedly showed an interest in signing the Brazil international last year, but he eventually left AC Milan for PSG instead.

After putting in a commanding display in the Champions League quarter-final first leg between PSG and Barca last week, Silva has again been linked with a move to Camp Nou, with the player himself doing little to dampen the expectation.

"You can never close the door on something, because you don't know what will happen in the future. I am happy now, but you never know what will happen in the future," the defender told El Mundo Deportivo when questioned about a potential move to Barca.

"There were conversations between Barcelona and my agent last year, but I had already given my word to (PSG director) Leonardo. There's no way back once you've given your word.

"Everybody has dreams. I have been following Barcelona ever since I was a kid and they had players like Romario, Ronaldo and Rivaldo.

"Do I have a buy-out clause? I only just got here and I'm not thinking about that. But we all know that a solution can always be found."

The 28-year-old has a contract with PSG until the end of the 2016/17 season.

Article

Ibra set for Camp Nou task

9 April 2013 03:16

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says PSG can 'make history' by beating Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League quarter final tie.

PSG will travel to Camp Nou on Wednesday needing an improbable result against Barcelona.

After drawing 2-2 in the first leg in Paris, the Ligue 1 leaders will require a win or to score at least two goals against the Spanish giants.

A defeat will see the French club go out of the competition.

"It will be difficult," he told Globoesporte.

"It is a great challenge, but it is our time to make history."


Article

Ancelotti: We must beat Barca

9 April 2013 02:09

Carlo Ancelotti has played down Lionel Messi's possible absence from Wednesday's Champions League clash at Camp Nou.

The Argentina international did not re-appear for the second half of Tuesday's 2-2 draw in Paris against PSG and it was later revealed the 25-year-old had sustained a hamstring injury.

However, having played no part in Barcelona's victory over Mallorca at the weekend, it remains to be seen if coach Tito Vilanova will include the star in his plans for the visit of the French giants on Wednesday.

And speaking to RMC Sport on Monday, Ancelotti, the PSG coach, said Messi's potential exclusion does not make the task of progressing to the next round any easier.

"We have to defend, but our goal is not only to defend, we must also show courage," he said.

"With or without Messi, it is the same for us. To reach the semi-finals, we still have to win."


Article

Beckham keen to start against Barcelona

7 April 2013 15:43

David Beckham has expressed his desire to be involved from the start in Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League return leg against Barcelona.

The England midfielder was in the starting line-up for the 2-2 quarter-final first leg against the Spanish side at Parc des Princes, though he was criticised by French media after the match for his performance.

The former Real Madrid star stressed that he is eager for another starting berth on Wednesday night, though he is unsure of Carlo Ancelotti's plans.

"I do not know (if I'll start) - I'm not the coach," the 37-year-old told Le 10 Sport.

"Of course I want to start but that's the same for all players in these big games. We'll see."

Les Parisiens warmed up for the fixture at Camp Nou with a 2-0 win over Rennes in Ligue 1 on Saturday, a game which saw Beckham set up a Zlatan Ibrahimovic goal deep into injury time after Jeremy Menez's opener.

The former Manchester United midfielder may also benefit from the suspension of Blaise Matuidi in his ambitions for a starting berth against the La Liga leaders.

PSG are currently top of Ligue 1 with 64 points from 31 games, seven ahead of second-placed Marseille.

Article

Zidane gets behind underdogs PSG

7 April 2013 14:52

Zinedine Zidane has thrown his support behind Paris Saint-Germain ahead of their date with Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Blaise Matuidi's stoppage-time effort allowed PSG to snatch a 2-2 draw at Parc des Princes last week in the first leg, and Real Madrid sporting director Zidane believes PSG have an excellent chance of causing an upset in the second leg in Catalunya.

"I will be supporting Paris. I am behind the French club," the 40-year-old told RMC Sport.

"This game is positive for French football. Even though I am from Marseille it is rather nice to see Paris to rub shoulders with Barcelona.

"I see it being hard for them. But I think the fact that they scored late in the game means it will be interesting. It will be difficult at Camp Nou but this is a team that is capable of worrying Barca."

Zidane - who scored 46 times in 210 appearances for Madrid - also stood up for underfire Real attacker Karim Benzema, stating his compatriot needs more encouragement from the fans.

"What a player needs when he is struggling a bit is to have support," Zidane said.

"He is one of the best players in the France team. I can understand people who come to the stadium (to jeer) as they want to see their striker scoring goals. But I would say that we must support the players. He has great qualities, he will emerge from this difficult situation.

"And the France team will benefit soon. I also had difficulties in the France team. It happens in a career to have bad runs. Fortunately, however, he can bounce back."

Article

Roura, Barca wait on Messi fitness

5 April 2013 16:47

Barcelona's Jordi Roura says Lionel Messi is unlikely to face Mallorca on Saturday but remains in contention to play Paris Saint-Germain.

A hamstring problem forced Messi to be withdrawn at half-time in Barcelona's 2-2 draw with PSG in the Champions League quarter-final first leg on Tuesday.

The Argentina forward has been receiving specialist treatment aimed at making him available for the return fixture at Camp Nou next Wednesday.

But Barca's assistant coach Roura remains uncertain if Messi will recover in time to play PSG, and all but ruled him out of the Liga game at home to Mallorca.

"It's difficult to say," Roura said when asked about the star man's fitness.

"We'll see what state he's in by Wednesday. For the game tomorrow, logically, his chances are low."

While progression in the Champions League is a major objective for Barca, Roura said the club will not be neglecting their domestic title challenge when it comes to picking the team to play Mallorca.

"Clearly, we have to try to find the balance (with rotation)," he said.

"I've always said, and this is no exception, that La Liga is very important to us.

"We have to be focused on the match tomorrow."

Article

Matuidi vital to PSG hopes

4 April 2013 17:34

Blaise Matuidi is as important to Paris Saint-Germain as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, according to Olivier Dacourt.

The former Inter Milan and Fulham midfielder has hailed the work-rate of his compatriot at the heart of Carlo Ancelotti's side, and believes they will miss his presence in the Champions League quarter-final second leg after his last-gasp equaliser against Barcelona at Parc des Princes.

"Blaise is as important to PSG as Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva," Dacourt told Le Parisien.

"He runs for two, recovers an incredible number of balls and, in addition, he scored the goal of hope."

With Matuidi suspended, Dacourt believes the return to fitness of Thiago Motta will be vital to the Ligue 1 leaders' chances of securing a famous result, a belief echoed by former PSG midfielder Vincent Guerin.

"In a midfield with two ball-winners, the most natural partnership to me is a Thiago Motta/(Marco) Verratti pairing," Dacourt explained.

"If Thiago is not recovered, then they will need to choose (Clement) Chantome."

"Ancelotti does not have 36 solutions," Guerin added.

"If Thiago Motta is back on his feet, his experience is unmatched in my opinion."

PSG will travel to Camp Nou to face Barcelona in the return leg on Wednesday.

Article

Ibrahimovic talks up PSG´s chances

3 April 2013 16:05

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says Paris Saint-Germain are still capable of reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League ahead of Barcelona.

The Ligue 1 side recorded a 2-2 draw in the quarter-final first leg on Tuesday thanks to Blaise Matuidi's stoppage-time equaliser at the Parc des Princes, and Ibrahimovic is determined to seal the deal in the return fixture at Camp Nou next week.

"I am very confident of progressing. We have a great opportunity. It will not be easy but we will go there and play the game and we will see," Ibrahimovic told reporters.

"It was a good game. We demonstrated we could play and I think 2-2 is a fair result if you look at the game. We played against a fantastic team. We were 1-0 down and 2-1 down, so it is good for us. We showed character and this gives us more confidence.

"We are only here to learn. This is the first year for the club, everything is new and we have a lot of new players.

"It is not easy to play against Barcelona. The game went well for me. We have to play like a team and when the team plays well it is easier for me."

The return at Camp Nou takes place on April 10.

Article

Messi in doubt for Mallorca, PSG

3 April 2013 14:49

Lionel Messi remains in doubt for Barcelona's Champions League quarter-final second leg with Paris Saint-Germain following tests.

Messi was withdrawn at half-time in the 2-2 draw at Parc des Princes on Tuesday, when he appeared to suffer a leg injury shortly after putting Barcelona 1-0 ahead.

The Argentina star has since undergone scans, and the club have confirmed he has a problem with his right femoral bicep, putting him in doubt for Saturday's Liga match with Real Mallorca.

A statement on Barca's official website read: "Tests have confirmed that Leo Messi has a muscle injury in the femoral bicep of his right leg. He is a doubt for the Liga match on Saturday, and his rate of recovery will determine his availability for subsequent commitments."

Messi's fellow Argentina international Javier Mascherano was stretchered off against PSG and Barca have since announced he suffered a medial ligament tear in his right knee.

He is expected to be sidelined for six weeks, adding to Barca's defensive injury woes, with captain Carles Puyol also out following knee surgery.

Mascherano, 28, was booked in the first leg, meaning he would have been suspended for the return fixture.

Barca defender Dani Alves said he was satisfied with the draw.

"We are quite happy with the result, although given how we played we left the pitch with a bit of a bitter taste in our mouths," Alves said.

"We could have got something more out of the game and conceding that late goal left us feeling that way. But we are very happy with how we played."

And Alves believes Messi should not be out long term.

"Of course (Messi's injury) was a big scare. He has undergone tests and it looks like it isn't as bad as first expected.

"So we'll see how he gets on in his recovery, we know that you have to be careful when coming back from a muscle injury.

"It can be complicated so we shouldn't talk about what date he'll be back just yet."

Article

Xavi has faith in Barca depth

3 April 2013 12:11

Barcelona midfielder Xavi is confident his side have the depth to replace Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano.

The Argentine duo picked up injuries in the Catalans' 2-2 Champions League draw against Paris Saint-Germain in Tuesday's quarter-final first leg in the French capital.

Messi stayed behind in the dressing-room at half-time after picking up a hamstring injury, and will undergo a series of tests on Wednesday to determine its extent.

Mascherano will be out of action for an estimated six weeks due to a knee problem he picked up late in the second half.

"The injuries our team suffered are a bad outcome to the game but we have players good enough to cover those losses," Xavi told reporters.

The Spain international went on to voice his satisfaction with the first-leg result, and is hopeful of making it to the semi-finals.

He added: "It is a real pity that last goal went in as we felt we controlled the game and had it won. We would have taken this result at the beginning though so all is not lost.

"We will look to produce a game like we did in the round of 16 second leg against AC Milan and hopefully we can get through.

"Barcelona always look to attack, have possession of the ball and to be the protagonists and that is how we will approach the return."

The second leg takes place Wednesday week at Camp Nou.

Primera División table

# Team MP D P
1 2 +4 6
2 2 +3 4
3 2 +2 4
4 2 +1 4
5 2 +1 4

Ligue 1 table

# Team MP D P
1 4 +6 10
2 4 +7 8
3 4 +3 8
4 4 +3 7
5 4 +3 7