The Blaugrana had a comfortable win against the visiting I Nerazzurri last time around.
FC Barcelona travelled to Milan on Monday and what was rather unusual about it was the fact that Lionel Messi also travelled along with the squad. Messi had broken his arm in the 4-2 victory over Sevilla FC earlier in the month of October that kept him out of contention for the rest of the month, which also included the Clasico that Barca won comfortably by a 5-1 margin.
He was initially stipulated to return to action after three to four weeks and therefore, it came as a surprise when Barcelona officially announced that Messi was back in training a few days ago and would be travelling with the squad despite not having the required medical clearance.
Despite losing the away game at the Camp Nou by a wide margin, Inter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti will draw confidence from his side’s domestic form as the Nerazzurri have won all of their last seven Serie A games. The return of Radja Nainggolan will also boost their options in midfield and Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde expects an aggressive Inter that will put up a strong fight.
“I expect the same Inter we saw in Camp Nou, but with more aggression and tenacity to hold on to possession. We will try to take the game to them as well and play we know how to but we need to be really attentive to Inter’s approach as well”, Valverde said in the pre-game presser.
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Barcelona are going into the game after stressful and narrow victories over Rayo Vallecano and Cultural Leonesa but they are expected to notch up their game in Italy. The equation is simple for the Catalans. A draw secures qualification and a victory secures top place finish. An Inter victory, on the other hand pretty much knocks out Tottenham Hotspur FC.
Lionel Messi is expected to start the match from the bench and it is very unlikely that he will get any minutes at all. “We are awaiting the results from the medical team. He has been positive in training but we are not going to rush him and put him in a position where he could get hurt again”, his manager had this to comment on the matter.
On paper, the match promises an intense encounter with both sides going all out for three points and it won’t be surprising if the game ends in a draw.