Lionel Messi is back for Barcelona, as the Catalans welcome Real Betis to the Camp Nou tonight at 21:00 (CET).
Barcelona will be looking to register their first win in the 2019-20 campaign when they host Betis in La Liga’s Matchday 2.
The reigning champions started the new season with a 1-0 defeat at Athletic Bilbao last weekend, as Aritz Aduriz stunned them with an overhead kick goal in the dying moments of the game.
Real Betis also started out with defeat, losing 2-1 to Valladolid at the Benito Villamarin Stadium.
Good news for Barcelona is the return of their captain and best player Lionel Messi, who was back in training earlier in the week.
However, Ernesto Valverde will miss his second-biggest star – Luis Suarez, who suffered a muscle injury in the opener against Athletic Bilbao.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 24, 2019
Real Betis will travel to Barcelona without first-choice goalkeeper Joel Robles who was sent off only eight minutes into the new season last Sunday.
New signing Borja Iglesias is also expected to miss the game due to a sprained ankle.
What did the managers say
Ernesto Valverde says Real Betis is a good side, which is coming to Camp Nou to get something of the game with the Spanish champions.
“Betis is a side that has very good players, which were close to getting in the Europa League last season,” said Valverde at the pre-match press conference.
“They also had a good European campaign and have the strength to be in the top of La Liga this season.
“They have a new manager and made some changes in the club, brought in good players, that will come here and try to make us problems on Sunday night.”
— Real Betis Balompié (@RealBetis_en) August 24, 2019
Real Betis head coach Rubi joked that he hopes Messi will catch a cold and miss the game against his side this evening.
“I think Messi is going to play from the start. It’s what I think,” said Rubi as we’ve already reported.
“I’d prefer Messi to have a cold, not an injury, but a cold so he cannot play. We have to go with a point of courage but knowing that any player they put out will be good.
“f you go with excessive respect you are losing 1-0. You have to be brave but not commit nonsense, because they will take advantage of that.”
Real Betis shocked Barcelona the last time both sides met at the Camp Nou Stadium, beating the favorites 4-3 in a real thriller back in November.
It was Barcelona’s only home defeat across all competitions in the 2018-19 campaign.
However, the Catalans have won all of the other home nine games in their last 10 meetings against Real Betis.
They’ve scored 37 goals in the back of Betis’ net in the process, an average of 3.7 goals per game.
The Green and Whites won only one of their last six away league games, beating Real Madrid 2-0 at the Bernabeu in the final round last season. The suffered a defeated in four of the other five games.