Published: Sun, January 28, 2018
Sports | By Brooke Harris

Messi: "Without Neymar we are more balanced"


While talking to media, Lionel Messi said that departure of Neymar has done more good than harm to run-away La Liga leaders.

But the five-time Ballon d'Or victor said Barca - unbeaten and 11 points clear atop the table - are better without the Brazil star. "Manchester City are one of the strongest teams in the world at the moment".

"It would be hard to work out what we'd be like with Neymar", Valverde added. That would be a unusual exercise.

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In one of the Parisian club's most recent outings, an 8-0 rout of Dijon at home, Neymar bagged four goals and subsequently became the second Ligue 1 player after compatriot Carlos Eduardo, then of Nice, to receive a ideal "10" rating by the esteemed publication L'Équipe.

Tevez, who recently returned to Boca Juniors, hasn't played for his country since 2015 but he's targeting a spot in the squad for the World Cup in Russian Federation. We have lost a lot of attacking potential, but it helped us defensively. That's the way we've done it. It was not very different from what we were already doing.

One beneficiary of Neymar's exit is Philippe Coutinho and Valverde praised the former Liverpool star, while also suggesting he could potentially be paired with Andres Iniesta in midfield, rather than one or the other playing. Valverde further added: "Let's see [how we play Coutinho], We need to learn how he plays in our system and he needs to learn how to play with his team-mates".

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Thank God we are getting it done, and I wish for the best finish to the season. He has a certain elegance. He doesn't need to change much to fit in. And it's the same for those who follow Real Madrid.

"But if there's a world where odd things can happen, it's the football world". But swapping Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain was really a decision to be questioned about.

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