Spalletti glad to face Messi-less Barcelona


Inter coach Luciano Spalletti said it was easier to face Barcelona without the “extraordinary” Lionel Messi after Tuesday’s 1-1 draw in the Champions League.

Messi was again sidelined for Barca due to a broken arm, but the draw was enough for the LaLiga giants to secure their place in the knockout stage from Group B.

Malcom’s late goal was cancelled out by Mauro Icardi as Inter gained a valuable point.

Spalletti said while Barca were an incredible outfit, they were easier to play against with Messi injured.

“I think Messi is an extraordinary footballer. Barcelona is an amazing team, even if Messi doesn’t play,” he told a news conference.

“But if he plays, the team becomes even stronger. So I’m sorry if Messi isn’t playing because of an injury, because I don’t want him or any other player to be injured.

“It’s obvious that when you play against Barcelona, you’d rather play against them without Messi on the pitch.

“But even you would want the same thing, right? Everybody else in the room won’t say anything but they share my views.”

Inter (seven points) are second to Barca (10) in Group B, while the Serie A giants are clear of Tottenham (four).

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