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Ernesto Valverde talks Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Neymar ahead of Real Betis

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The latest from the Barcelona boss

Athletic de Bilbao v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Ernesto Valverde spoke to the press on Saturday ahead of Barcelona’s La Liga clash against Real Betis at the Camp Nou.

The Barcelona boss refused to say if Lionel Messi would feature against Betis, really didn’t want to talk about Ousmane Dembele and unsurprisingly was also asked about Neymar.

Here’s what he had to say:

Valverde on Messi

We have to wait for training. I can’t tell you right now [if he’ll play]. I don’t know for sure. I don’t know if he will be able to play and how much. We don’t want to risk a player who isn’t 100 per cent.

Valverde on Griezmann

He’s fitting in better every day. We want him to participate a lot in the game. We know if he plays with the ball a lot he can be very decisive. He wasn’t as involved as we would have liked at San Mames, but it’s our duty to get our forwards more involved.

Valverde on Neymar

I know this is a popular subject, there’s always a lot of expectation on our club in the transfer window. There are players like Neymar who cause a lot of expectation but he’s at another club. It’s not boring certainly but I can’t say anything about this. We’ll see what happens. At the moment he’s a PSG player and we should be more worried about the game tomorrow.

Valverde on Pique’s 500th game

He’s a very important player for us in the dressing room. It’s a very important number for him and the club. I think that’s secondary because I’m focused on his performance on the pitch but 500 matches says a lot about his consistency.

Valverde on Arturo Vidal

It’s clear that if we are missing forwards we need players who can step up, players who can get to the area and score goals. It’s true we have a lot of absences, it’s always a good option to have midfielders who can push forward.

Valverde on Rafinha

We’ve been talking a lot about Rafinha last season and this one for different reasons. He’s overcome an important injury, we didn’t know how he’d respond but he gives 100 per cent. After all the talk he’s stayed in the team and participated. Now he’s fighting for a place in the team, he certainly has a very competitive attitude.