Published: Wed, October 24, 2018
Sport | By Patty Hardy

Piqué: "Barcelona can cope without Messi"

Piqué:

Barcelona moved to the top of La Liga with an impressive two-goal success over in-form Sevilla, but the victory came at a cost with Messi being forced off the field in the first period.

The Argentine was left writhing in agony after landing heavily on his right arm after colliding with Franco Vazquez.

"We drifted out of the game after a good start to the second half and, instead of making it 2-0, we let them make it 1-1", Allegri said.

"Psychologically we know that when he is there we are stronger but we can not allow his absence to affect us", Piqué said.

Barca have been accused of "Messidependencia", an over-reliance on the Argentinian, who inspired them to a 4-2 victory over Tottenham in their last Champions League outing. "It is a period for us without Messi and we want to miss him while we´re winning".

The first big game Messi is likely to miss is against a rejuvenated Inter Milan side in the CL group stage.

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo takes off his jacket after beating France 1-0 in the Euro 2016 final football match between France and Portugal at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis north of Paris
AFP 2018 MARTIN BUREAU'Mirror Mirror on the Wall: Ex England Player Claims Naked Ronaldo Boasted He's Better Looking Than Messi

Barcelona begin their Copa del Rey defence at the end of the month, though the absence of Messi should not prove too much of an issue given they face third-tier side Cultural Leonesa.

Pablo Sarabia pulled one back for Sevilla, but Ivan Rakitic restored the hosts' three-goal advantage.

Local media immediately questioned whether Madrid should fire Lopetegui before the clasico next weekend at Barcelona or give him a chance to try to save his job against the rival. His injury would be a setback for the Catalan, especially against Real Madrid this Sunday, as Barcelona have never won an El Clasico match without Messi in the playing XI since his debut.

As Real Madrid are proving in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo, a striker's goals are hard to replace but so too is the aura.

Julen Lopetegui's job as Real Madrid coach is in question following a club record scoring drought and a winless run of five consecutive matches.

"Right now that is the last thing that I'm thinking about", said Lopetegui when asked if he was anxious about losing his job.

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