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Valverde talks Griezmann, Messi and Iniesta ahead of Barcelona’s Atletico Madrid clash

The boss has held his weekly briefing

Real Madrid v FC Barcelona - Supercopa de Espana: 2nd Leg Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Ernesto Valverde has faced the press ahead of Saturday’s trip to the Wanda Metropolitano and has had plenty to say.

The Barcelona boss discussed Atletico, Antoine Griezmann and the condition of his team after the international break.

Here are the best bits...

Valverde talks World Cup qualifiers

It’s true a lot of players have come from playing decisive matches. But Atletico also have to deal with that. If it was a game that wasn't quite as motivating I’d worry a bit more, but we all understand how powerful Atletico are and we know we have to focus. Having a game like this keeps you focused.

Valverde on Barcelona’s strong start

I don't know if it’s the best start [ever] really. We can look at the numbers later. Tomorrow's game is very important against a tough team and in a lot of ways, it will reinforce what we're doing and we will look at the numbers afterwards.

Valverde on Atletico Madrid

It's a big game and the Wanda Metropolitano will have a great atmosphere. They have a couple of good goalscorers and other teams have had a tough time scoring against them too, they defend very well.

We try to do our best to try and keep our opponents from scoring, but we know this is a team that, if they go ahead, they will make things tough for us.

Valverde on Antoine Griezmann

He’s a great player, he's someone you have to keep your eye on, he's a goalscorer and works well in space. With his skills he'd work well with a lot of teams but he's with Atletico and we have to respect that.

Valverde on resting players

We are going to try and play with the best team for this game. We have to see how they feel after they've come back. Messi is good, I think Busquets took a knock, Rakitic is good. We have to see how they come back but there shouldn't be any problems.

Valverde on Messi

The best thing about Messi is his constant competitiveness and the responsibility he takes and you know that he can resolve any game. He’s the best player in the world, he knows that and it's tough to carry that weight on your shoulders every day. It's not just one day, it’s every day, and it’s an unbelievable level of competitiveness

Valverde on resting Messi

He pre-season was normal, sometimes players come off World Cups or other tournaments, there are players that come late but for him it was normal. I think he's strong, we think that it’s important for him to help him out at the start of the season. As the season goes on we'll look at it [resting Messi] but right now he's good.

Valverde on Andres Iniesta

With Andres we're talking about a player who is unique, the same way as Messi. He’s a unique player because of his technical skills, his way of understanding the game on the field, how he affects the game and makes the difference. What he brings is something other players can't, it is something very difficult to find, the qualities that he has.

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