Andres Iniesta doubtful for Chelsea visit as Barcelona urge caution
By James Dale
Last Updated: 14/03/18 6:47am
Andres Iniesta will only play against Chelsea if he is "100 per cent fit" as Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde insists it will be the player's decision.
Chelsea must score in their Champions League last-16 second leg at the Nou Camp to have any hope of reaching the quarter-finals after Lionel Messi scored late at Stamford Bridge to earn a 1-1 draw three weeks ago.
Iniesta assisted that goal, but injured his hamstring in Barcelona' 1-0 league victory over Atletico Madrid earlier this month and will not be risked for Wednesday's decider against Chelsea unless he is back to full fitness.
"Well he played a big part of the training session yesterday without a problem," Valverde said on Tuesday.
"We'll see how he feels today and decide according to how he feels. We know it's a very important game but of course it's down to the player.
"I don't know exactly if he will play or not because it's a game you have to play if you are 100 per cent."
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Valverde said he is wary of Chelsea's counter-attacking ability, particularly the in-form Willian, and admitted he is yet to find the right tactics to unlock Antonio Conte's side.
"We will try to find a secret formula," said Valverde. "I don't think we have it, but just to keep working, keep pushing, keep trying.
"(But) it's a double-edged sword. We cannot be on top of them for the whole match, because the last season they were the team with the best counter-attack in the Premier League."
Messi's potentially crucial goal in the first leg was his first in nine games against Chelsea, and team-mate Sergio Busquets believes he is even more "motivated" after last week becoming a father for the third time.
The Argentine is settled in Barcelona, says Busquets, and a move to the Premier League would not tempt him away.
"I think he [Messi] feels at home here," Busquets said. "When you feel at home with all the things you have here - this is a big club, with good players next to you, you win different trophies, this is a good project, economically he's doing well.
"All of this is positive. It's difficult to find this in other places.
"We know the Premier League is a spectacular league. We would like to play there, but if you take all the positives and all the negatives, it's very difficult to leave Barcelona.
"If you feel at home and you're from Barcelona it's difficult to change."
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