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Ivan Rakitic motivated by Lionel Messi's injury: "We want to win games for Messi"

David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic spoke to the press to preview his team's Champions League game against Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday. The Croatian didn't shy away from the many questions regarding the absence of his teammate Lionel Messi, who is set to miss two months with a knee injury.

According to Rakitic, while the team will be affected by the loss of its best player, the group is strong enough to survive his absence and will be united to reach the goals of winning without Leo. And the motivation is clear: winning for Messi. He also talked about the opponents, and expects a tough match. Here's a few highlights of his press conference:

"We are all looking forward to the game at the Camp Nou. And we want to show the fans how much we are doing things as well as we possibly can.

"Bayer Leverkusen are a very strong team. They are physically tough and play top quality football. They are sure to want to play their game and their match, so we are going to have to be careful. It’s the second game of the group stage and we want to win to send a message out to the people that we’re here. It’ll be a very difficult game and we’ll have to perform well in every aspect.

"Of course [Messi's injury] will affect us. But it also motivates us. We want to win these games for him, to cheer him up and boost him to recover as soon as possible. A new door has opened and we have to group together to take on this new challenge. Leo is very important to us, he alone can change so many things, but we know what we have to do and although it hurts to have lost the best player in the world, the team is still feeling very, very confident."


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