Valverde: Messi in perfect shape for Man Utd game

Lionel Messi is fully fit to face Manchester United and ready to end his long drought in the Champions League quarter-finals, according to Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde.

Star forward Messi skipped the weekend draw against Huesca after an accidental elbow from Chris Smalling left him with a bloody nose and a bruised eye at Old Trafford last week.

The La Liga club returned from Manchester with a 1-0 advantage, giving them a useful cushion as they look to seal their progression at Camp Nou on Tuesday.

Messi’s presence in the starting XI serves as a significant boost but the 31-year-old has not scored at this stage of the competition since 2013, a streak spanning 12 quarter-final appearances.

“That means he’s closer to scoring again,” Valverde replied at Monday’s media conference when asked about Messi’s barren run.

“Statistics tell you about the past, but not the future. We don’t know what’s going to happen and that’s an incentive for everyone.

“He’s fine after the knock he had. He’s in perfect shape for tomorrow.”

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