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Apr 9, 2013

Iniesta: Messi will only face PSG if ready

Andres Iniesta has said Lionel Messi will only play in Barcelona's Champions League quarter-final against Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday if he is ready.

• Cox: "Messi dependence"
• To Messi or not to Messi?
• Silva's Barcelona dream

Messi trained prior to Wednesday's second leg at the Camp Nou, but no final decision on whether he will be selected has yet been made.

The Argentine strained a thigh muscle in last week's 2-2 first-leg draw in Paris, and Iniesta said: "We will see today and tomorrow at training how he is.

"Whatever decision they take tomorrow will be the right decision. It depends on how the injury recovers, how he feels, what the coaches and doctors decide. It is a question of feelings and how the injury is."

Should Messi not start the game, Cesc Fabregas - who scored a hat-trick in Saturday's 5-0 La Liga win over Real Mallorca - will again fill the 'false nine' role.

"Cesc is a very complete player, who understands the game so well," Iniesta said. "He knows how to link up very well, knows where his team-mates are, moves very well."

The Spain international dismissed claims that Barcelona were too reliant on Messi, explaining: "You could say there is 'Messidependence' because he is a fundamental player for us, but we all help each other in this team.

"We help him to score goals, and he helps us to play well. I believe I always play the same way, independently of who else is on the pitch, whether Leo is there or not.

"I hope we can all play a good game so we make the semi-finals. That is the only concern now. If Leo is there, then perfect - if not, then we still need to go through."

Iniesta warned that big-spending PSG would pose plenty of dangers, but said he was confident Barcelona would progress if they played well themselves.

"We know the players they have, their pace, their technical ability," he said. "We will need to keep that in mind.

"This is a serious game, with everything on the line. We are playing at home, with a score which is not too bad. I am always relaxed, no matter who we are playing, as if we play well we have a big chance to win the game."

After the first leg was followed by controversy about refereeing - with PSG boss Carlo Ancelotti accusing Barca's Alexis Sanchez of diving and Barca making an official complaint about the performance of official Wolfgang Stark - Iniesta said he hoped there would less debate after the second.

"I hope we are not talking about referees - that is always a good sign," he said. "They try and do their jobs well, just like the players. They make mistakes, as players do."

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