Barcelona coach Valverde admits Busquets injury a blow

Messi I'm a less selfish player

Messi I'm a less selfish player

It was a first half to remember for the Barcelona man and Ousmane Dembele gifted the forward with a perfectly weighted assist on the half hour mark - just like Messi did against Chelsea in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Valverde is hopeful Busquets will return after the subsequent global break, but he is also confident in Ivan Rakitic's ability to occupy a deeper role and counteract the World Cup winner's absence.

Sergio Busquets averages a 90% passing accuracy in La Liga this season. He is the best player in the world in his position, so it's not easy to replace him, but there are alternatives - [Ivan] Rakitic has played that role very well.

In a press conference on Saturday, the Barcelona boss highlighted the importance of Busquets in the squad, claiming he's the best at what he does in the centre of the pitch.

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However, Valverde went on to add there are alternatives and could give 20-year-old academy graduate Carles Alena the opportunity to start, "Rakitic is having an extraordinary season". He is completely reliable. Maybe his role isn't as attacking as it was at Sevilla, but players do move around. [Nelson] Semedo has played as a winger and at the back. They don't always stay in the same position. Rakitic has moved around.

Barcelona leads La Liga with 72 points.

The result takes Barcelona another step closer to a seventh title in the last 10 years, moving 11 points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid and 18 above Real Madrid, both of whom are in action later on Sunday.

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