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Sergi Roberto: Winning Without Messi Strengthened Barcelona

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Roberto acknowledged the team was “scared” at first of playing without its main star.

Rayo Vallecano de Madrid v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

“With Leo’s absence, we were all a bit scared,” Sergi Roberto admitted prior to Barcelona’s clash with Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League. Lionel Messi has been missing due to an arm injury, but Barça have adapted well, winning all the matches he’s not played in. It seems that fear dissipated and it’s been replaced with newfound confidence.

“He is the most important player,” the fullback continued. “He is the best in the world, and it’s normal for an absence like his to influence you, but we have won all our matches without him. It’s clear that it strengthens the team to win without the best player in the world. We have all given an extra step, and we have shown it on the pitch. We have a deep squad, and we are all here to do our part. We have shown that we can do great things.”

Speaking of the upcoming clash against the Italians, Roberto said: “We know that if we win, we are first in the group. We will go out with a lot enthusiasm to play and confirm our qualification into the next round.

“This year we already won at Wembley and we will go out just like we did against Tottenham Hotspur.”

The Barcelona player said that while “it’s important to finish first,” to secure a more favorable draw in the next round, there comes a point in which “any rival is difficult.”

Regardless, “winning always gives you an extra dose of calmness,” he said.

Roberto also said Messi was “happy to be back with us” and the team was “happy that he is here.”

“He doesn’t yet have the medical green light but it’s very good to have Messi,” Roberto continued, “although I’m not sure if he will be available. We are very happy that he has recovered.”