Barcelona chief executive Oscar Grau has confirmed Ernesto Valverde asked the club to buy Neymar, as the Spanish champions consider whether to make any future bids to Paris Saint-Germain.

Neymar was strongly linked with a return to Camp Nou, with PSG sporting director Leonardo confirming the Brazilian was for sale having asked to leave the French capital.

But despite Barca reportedly making a series of cash-plus-players offers to PSG, no deal could be completed before September 2's European transfer deadline.

Neymar scored on his first Ligue 1 appearance this term after failing to get his desired move, but PSG ultras have indicated he will not be welcomed back to the fray quickly.

Real Madrid have also long been linked with a move for Neymar, with Grau unwilling to say whether Barcelona will continue to pursue a deal for the Brazil forward.

"Neymar was a request from the sports area and the coach and the club did everything in order to get him, albeit in a financially sustainable way," Grau said on Thursday.

"We made many proposals to PSG. They always rejected them. I don't know if we are going to target him again next summer. Planning for next season will be done in the future.

"We would have been delighted to have the chance to bring Neymar back, but the terms always had to be reasonable.

"If some parameters had been accomplished, it would have been possible, but PSG were not happy about losing him."

Barca also missed out on Matthijs de Ligt, who opted not to follow his Netherlands team-mate Frenkie de Jong from Ajax to Camp Nou.

"We made him an offer, but he preferred to go to Juve, where Italian taxation allows him to earn a higher net salary," Grau added.

Barcelona expect to announce an eye-watering turnover in excess of €1billion ahead of schedule in 2020.

The forecast is claimed to be "a new record in the world of sport" and is on course to be reached before the club's stated target of 2021.

LaLiga champions in four of the past five seasons, Barca's revenue climbed €76million to a club-record €990m for the 2018-19 season.

The Camp Nou outfit spent large sums on Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann ahead of the 2019-20 campaign but project a three per cent reduction in "sporting salaries" and nine per cent increase in income for player transfers and loans after parting with Andre Gomes, Malcom and Jasper Cillessen among other fringe members of Ernesto Valverde's squad.

Barca's finances might look less robust if the club succeeds in its attempts to sign Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain. 

The Brazil international moved between the teams for €222m in August 2017 but wants to return to his former employers, who investigated the possibility of a deal during the last transfer window.

On the pitch, head coach Valverde's hopes of retaining his job appear to hinge heavily on delivering victory in the Champions League.

Lionel Messi made the competition a priority when he spoke of being committed to Barca on the condition of sustained success.

"For me, money or a clause don't mean anything. Other things motivate me and the most important thing is having a winning team," he told SPORT this month.

Samuel Eto'o has said he wants to become the first coach of colour to win the Champions League and vowed to emulate the style of former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola.

The former striker, who retired from playing this month, twice won Europe's elite competition with Barca – under Frank Rijkaard and then Guardiola – before lifting it again with Inter in 2010.

The 38-year-old has now set his sights on winning the tournament as a coach, using the same possession and attacking style of football adopted by Guardiola at Camp Nou.

Eto'o also hopes such a triumph would blaze a trail for non-white coaches, the ex-Cameroon star having become wearied by recent incidents of racism in the sport.

"I want to be the first coach of colour to win the Champions League, by playing with a team like Guardiola does," he told Cadena SER.

Eto'o was speaking in the wake of the alleged racist abuse of Inter striker Romelu Lukaku by Cagliari fans during a Serie A match in Sardinia. Cagliari avoided punishment from the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).

On Monday, television pundit Luciano Passirani was sacked for making a comment about Lukaku that, although apparently meant as a compliment, was considered by many observers to be racist.

"These have been very sad moments and the worst thing is it keeps repeating itself," Eto'o said. "I ask on my knees for you to help us so that football in the stands is cleaner, with more education.

"Yellow, black, orange... in the end, we're all the same, and our children should know that. They shout at you like a monkey and then ask you for a photo. They have a photo with a monkey."

Eto'o scored in Barca's Champions League final win over Arsenal in 2006 and then broke the deadlock when the Catalans beat Manchester United 2-0 in Rome three years later.

He celebrated the opening goal by slapping his exposed forearm, something he says was fuelled by the fact that "nobody talked about me" prior to the match.

"It meant, 'I am black and that is why they don't talk about me'," he said when asked to explain the celebration. 

"I was the only one from the two teams to have scored in a Champions League final [apart from Cristiano Ronaldo in 2008] and nobody talked about me.

"They talked about Cristiano, about my boy [Lionel] Messi, who had not yet arrived... but the one who had scored in a final before was me. And I scored again."

Most recently at Qatar SC, Eto'o has called time on his playing career but is already plotting a return to Barca, saying: "I'm sure I'll come back. How? I don't know, but I'll come back!"

For now, though, Eto'o says his post-playing plans are simply: "To relax and have fun with my wife."

Samuel Eto'o joked he will "kill" Xavi if his former Barcelona team-mate never coaches the Catalan giants.

Xavi, who won multiple major honours as a player at Camp Nou, has long been seen as a future Barca coach and has started his managerial career in Qatar with Al Sadd.

With Ernesto Valverde again coming under pressure amid an underwhelming opening to the season for the Catalan giants, Eto'o offered a clear suggestion on who could replace him. 

"He is the f******g boss in Qatar and in Spain," Eto'o told Cadena SER of Xavi.

"If he doesn't end up coaching Barca, I'll kill him!"

Xavi and Andres Iniesta were part of one of football's great midfields, with Eto'o hailing the latter's talent.

"In the [2006 Champions League] final in Paris he played like [Diego] Maradona, [Lionel] Messi and Cristiano [Ronaldo] combined," Eto'o added.

"I already said in my first interviews: he's the best player I have trained with.

"People were surprised I didn't say Ronaldinho or Messi, but time has proved me right.

"He's never been recognised at the level of Leo or Cristiano, but Xavi and Iniesta are at that level."

Barca's next great star could be Ansu Fati, the 16-year-old becoming the youngest player to feature for the club in the Champions League when he started against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.

Fati already has two goals in three LaLiga appearances and Eto'o is excited by the forward's huge potential.

"Only God knows what's to come with Fati. He's very good," said the former Cameroon striker. "That one has two pairs of balls... he doesn't have one pair, he has two."

Fati has been playing alongside Barca's new signing Antoine Griezmann, who also has two LaLiga goals this term.

"Playing at Barca is like drinking a good glass of wine," Eto'o added. "Griezmann is drinking from that glass and enjoying it for a long time."

Barcelona have confirmed Jordi Alba suffered a hamstring injury when he went down in the first half of the Champions League draw with Borussia Dortmund.

Left-back Alba attempted to play on after receiving treatment but was forced to make way for Sergi Roberto five minutes before the interval.

Barca have not confirmed a timeline for the 30-year-old's return but he will reportedly miss two to three weeks, leaving him set to miss the upcoming LaLiga games against Granada, Villarreal and Getafe.

"Tests carried out have shown that the first-team player Jordi Alba has a hamstring injury in his left leg," the club said in a statement.

"The player is now unavailable for action and his recovery will dictate his return."

Alba's injury gives Junior Firpo the chance to push for a first Barca start.

The 23-year-old was signed from Real Betis to provide cover on the left side of defence but has only managed nine minutes in LaLiga this term.

He was left out of the squad that drew 0-0 with Dortmund, a result secured thanks to Marc-Andre ter Stegen's save from Marco Reus' second-half penalty.

Lionel Messi made his return from a calf injury in the Group F encounter, replacing teenager Ansu Fati in the 59th minute.

Barca have five games to play before the next international break, including the Champions League home match against Inter on October 2.

There could be a fight to prise Fabian Ruiz from Napoli.

Fabian has established himself as one of Europe's premier midfielders and the Spaniard is reportedly attracting interest.

Two LaLiga giants and the Champions League holders are said to be eyeing Fabian.

 

TOP STORY - THREE-WAY BATTLE FOR FABIAN

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Liverpool are chasing Napoli star Fabian Ruiz, according to the Daily Mail.

Fabian swapped Real Betis for Napoli in 2018 and the Spain international has quickly become one of Europe's most sought-after midfielders.

Now three of the biggest clubs in the world are reportedly eyeing the 23-year-old.

ROUND-UP

- The Sun reports Manchester United are preparing a January move for Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson. The Red Devils have limited options up front following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez. Wilson, who has already scored three goals this season, fits the bill at Old Trafford as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer eyes talented English players.

Juventus, Liverpool and Manchester City are all interested in Real Madrid playmaker Isco, claims Calciomercato.

Barcelona are set to offer 16-year-old sensation Ansu Fati a new five-year deal to fend off interest from European rivals, claims the Daily Mail.

- League One side Southend United want to hire former Celtic, Barca and Manchester United striker Henrik Larsson as their manager, says the Daily Mail. Southend are second bottom in the league after eight games, while Larsson was last in charge of Helsingborg before quitting in August.

- According to Globo Esporte, Flamengo are negotiating to bring Fredy Guarin to the club. The 33-year-old former Inter midfielder is a free agent after leaving Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua.

Lionel Messi "done enough" in his return as Barcelona drew 0-0 with Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, insisted head coach Ernesto Valverde.

Messi made his first appearance of the season after recovering from a calf injury in Barca's goalless draw away to Dortmund in their Group F opener on Tuesday.

The Barca captain had been sidelined up until his second-half introduction against Dortmund, though Messi was a peripheral figure for the visitors.

"He's like any player who hasn't had a pre-season," Valverde said.

"He's had to play in a game at an incredible pace, which had already started, all without preparation.

"It's his first 30 minutes. He's done enough. It was also the first full game for Luis Suarez."

Barca had goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to thank for securing a point after the German star saved Marco Reus' second-half penalty.

Ter Stegen thwarted Dortmund on more than one occasion in the second 45 minutes and Valverde hailed the Germany international.

"In LaLiga [Santander] we were saying that opponents score against us," Valverde added. "But tonight, he was very good. We have a great goalkeeper and we benefit from that."

On denying Reus from the penalty spot, Ter Stegen said:  It's hard to study, Reus always changes. It was a feeling I had [going to his left] and I'm glad that I could save it."

Antoine Griezmann insisted it will take time for him to gel with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez after Barcelona escaped with a point against Borussia Dortmund in their Champions League opener.

Barcelona held on for a 0-0 draw away to Bundesliga side Dortmund in Tuesday's Group F clash after goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved a second-half penalty from Marco Reus.

Star man Messi made his first appearance of the season after recovering from a calf injury – coming on as a second-half substitute – but it was a frustrating night for the LaLiga champions, whose side included Suarez and close-season arrival Griezmann.

"It's my second month since I arrived, I have to get used to it and play more with them to understand the movements of Suarez and Leo," Griezmann – a €120million signing from Atletico Madrid – acknowledged in Movistar +.

"We have not knocked on the door enough and we must improve and work at it. It is a point but Marc stopped a penalty and made other saves."

Barca head coach Valverde admitted they had Ter Stegen to thank after he made a string of fine saves - including one to deny Germany colleague Reus in the 57th minute.

"It was a difficult game in a great atmosphere," Valverde said. "We had to suffer a lot, especially after the break when we lost control and they were very dangerous.

"In the first half we dominated a bit more. We were lacking in the final third. We have to thank Marc-Andre ter Stegen for his outstanding saves.

"We know we have to improve away from home. We tried giving Messi a few minutes and Luis Suarez played from the start."

Ter Stegen added: "People know what I'm capable of. I just want to concentrate wholly on my work and perform at 100 per cent of my capabilities. Today I think I demonstrated that."

Dortmund captain Reus acknowledged his frustration at missing such a golden opportunity to defeat the Spanish giants.

He said: "Marc is a world-class keeper. My penalty was not really well-taken. Back to the training ground for that.

"Of course it does not feel good. I failed to convert a penalty and we had several other chances. One goal probably would have been enough for a win. We hardly allowed Barcelona space and showed a strong performance."

Dortmund defender Mats Hummels said the result felt like a missed opportunity, however, the German insisted there were plenty of positives to take from the performance.

"In the end we lost two points and failed to be in a better position. Nevertheless, we can be especially proud of the second half," the 30-year-old said.

Lionel Messi's second-half return from injury was not enough to inspire Barcelona to Champions League victory at Borussia Dortmund as Marc-Andre ter Stegen played a vital role in securing a 0-0 draw on Tuesday.

Talismanic forward Messi made his first appearance of the season after recovering from a calf injury, though he was a peripheral figure for Barca, who only secured a point thanks to Ter Stegen saving Marco Reus' penalty.

Dortmund edged a first half that was cagier than many might have expected from a contest between two typically free-flowing sides, though proceedings were more stretched after the break.

Reus spurned a glorious chance to give the hosts the lead in the 57th minute when seeing his spot-kick kept out by Ter Stegen and then Julian Brandt hit the crossbar from long distance as Barca held on to a point.

Dortmund began the brighter of the two sides, but Barca crafted the first opening as Gerard Pique's glancing header in the 13th minute flashed right across the face of goal.

They had to rely on Ter Stegen to remain level 12 minutes later, however, the German thwarting Reus from close range after he latched on to Thorgan Hazard's incisive disguised pass.

Dortmund went close again six minutes before half-time, but Jadon Sancho fired just over from 20 yards after being teed up by Paco Alcacer at the end of well-worked counter.

Ter Stegen was Barca's saviour once more just before the hour mark, producing a brilliant save down to his left to save Reus' penalty after Nelson Semedo had trodden on Sancho's foot.

Messi was introduced soon after for the quiet Ansu Fati, who became Barca's youngest player in the Champions League.

Dortmund still looked livelier, as Alcacer and Reus shot over from close range, before Brandt's 30-yard drive hit the bar, but Barca escaped unscathed.

 

What does it mean? Dortmund pay for lack of ruthlessness

Dortmund will not have many better opportunities to beat Barcelona, who were way short of their brilliant best.

With a penalty and several close-range chances, Dortmund will be left to reflect on having let their illustrious visitors off the hook. 

Ter Stegen saves Barca

While he was not excessively busy, there is no doubt Ter Stegen was vital to Barca avoiding defeat. He made a wonderful block to deny Reus in the first half and then saved his penalty after the break.

Griezmann's influence minimal

With Messi starting on the bench and Luis Suarez only just back from injury, Antoine Griezmann might have been expected to provide the spark for Barca in attack, but he was generally quiet, creating only one opportunity.

What's next?

Dortmund have Bundesliga clashes with Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen before returning to European action at Slavia Prague on October 2. Barca host Inter on the same day in the Champions League, though they must face Granada, Villarreal and Getafe beforehand.

Ansu Fati will become Barcelona's youngest player to feature in the Champions League after being named in their team to face Borussia Dortmund, while Lionel Messi is on the bench.

Messi has yet to feature this term due to a calf injury but has been deemed fit enough to be included on the bench for Tuesday's Group F game in Germany.

His absence has helped clear the path for Fati to come through and the 16-year-old, who has scored two LaLiga goals in three appearances, will get a chance to impress on Europe's grandest stage.

Fati starts in a front three alongside the returning Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann, who makes his Champions League debut for Barca. 

Griezmann's fellow new signing Frenkie de Jong also starts.

Suarez, who came off the bench to score twice in a 5-2 defeat of Valencia last time out, replaces Carles Perez in Barca's only change from that game.

Dortmund's XI includes former Barca striker Paco Alcacer, with the Spain international having already hit five Bundesliga goals this season.

Lionel Messi has his sights on a record set by Real Madrid great Raul when Barcelona face Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, as the Champions League proper gets started for the 2019-20 season.

Barca's talisman is back in their squad for the trip to Germany after missing the start of the campaign with a calf injury and, while he is unlikely to start, few would bet against him having a decisive impact if he does make an appearance.

Reigning champions Liverpool begin their title defence at Napoli in what will surely prove to be a tricky test, although Sadio Mane will be aiming to equal a record set by Didier Drogba.

There will also be Champions League bows in the dugout for Frank Lampard and Sylvinho.

Below, we examine the key data for Tuesday's encounters...

Salzburg v Genk

0 - Salzburg have not lost any of their last 18 home matches in European competition (W14 D4 – including qualifiers), with their most recent defeat at home coming in October 2016 against Nice in the Europa League.

1 - Genk forward Mbwana Samatta scored nine goals in 12 appearances in European competition last season and he also finished with 23 goals in the Belgian top flight in 2018-19. Should he play in this match, he will be the first Tanzanian player to make an appearance in the Champions League.

 

Napoli v Liverpool

5 - Napoli have won just one of their past six European meetings with English clubs, losing the other five in this run and failing to score in the most recent three. That one victory was against Liverpool last season, though.

15 - Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has scored 14 goals in 24 Champions League appearances. Should he score in his next outing, he will equal Didier Drogba's record of needing just 25 appearances to score his first 15 goals in the competition, a record for any African player.

 

Inter v Slavia Prague

20 - Inter will be making their 20th appearance in the Champions League/European Cup – only Juventus (34) and AC Milan (28) have had more among Italian sides (including 2019-20).

24 - Inter forward Alexis Sanchez has been involved in 24 goals (12 goals, 12 assists) in his 52 Champions League appearances, but none of these involvements came in six games in the competition for Manchester United, the club he left on loan last month.

 

Borussia Dortmund v Barcelona

33 - Lionel Messi has scored against 32 of the 37 different opponents he has faced in the Champions League. Should he score against Dortmund, the Barcelona star will equal the competition's record for different teams scored against, set by Raul (33 clubs).

2 - Borussia Dortmund have won just two of their past eight Champions League home matches (D2 L4), losing their most recent match 1-0 against Tottenham in the last 16 in 2018-19.

 

Lyon v Zenit

1 - Lyon boss Sylvinho will manage in the Champions League for the first time, also becoming the first non-Frenchman to take charge of the club in Europe's elite competition. The Brazilian made 32 Champions League appearances as a player for Barcelona, Celta Vigo and Arsenal, scoring three goals.

58 - Zenit captain Branislav Ivanovic could make his first Champions League appearance since March 2016 (for Chelsea) in this match. He has made 58 appearances in the competition; only Dejan Stankovic (87) and Predrag Djordjevic (62) have made more among Serbian players.

 

Benfica v RB Leipzig

10 - Benfica are Portugal's sole representative in the 2019-20 Champions League, making it the first time in a decade that there is only one Portuguese club in the competition.

3 - Timo Werner scored three goals from just seven shots on target in the Champions League back in 2017-18, more than any other RB Leipzig player. He went on to net seven times in European competition that term, the highest total by an RB Leipzig player in a single season.

 

Ajax v Lille

6 - Ajax won six games in the 2018-19 Champions League, as many as they did in their previous four participations in the competition.

11 - Including qualifiers, Lille have not won any of their past 11 European matches in all competitions (D6 L5) and scored only five goals in these games.

 

Chelsea v Valencia

102 - Frank Lampard will take charge of a Champions League game for the first time in his managerial career. As a Chelsea player, he made 102 appearances in the competition and is one of only 22 players to have played 100 games or more in the tournament with the same club.

2 - Valencia have reached the Champions League in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2012-13 (three in a row), which was also the last time they made it to the knockout stages of the competition, before being beaten by Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears set on his determination to bring young British talent to Manchester United.

There are four English names on the United manager's radar, apparently, as he looks to rebuild the team into a title-winning force once more.

The end of the season could potentially see a spend of a similar magnitude to the £150million, more or less, that he spent on Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James this year.

 

TOP STORY - MADDISON AND SANCHO TOP SOLSKJAER'S WISH LIST

As per ESPN, Manchester United will pursue deals for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho and Leicester City's James Maddison in 2020.

Manager Solskjaer is set on his policy of recruiting young, hungry British talent and remains keen on signing Sancho, who was reportedly a target this year.

United believe Leicester could sell Maddison for around £70m and are also interested in Newcastle United's Sean Longstaff, Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson and Stoke City's Nathan Collins.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona have been ordered by a judge to pay a €300 fine or play a match behind closed doors as part of Atletico Madrid's complaint against the transfer of Antoine Griezmann, Marca say. Atleti believe they are owed more than the €120m Barca paid to activate his release clause.

- The Daily Mail report Napoli are interested in Celtic forward Odsonne Edouard, a player they value at around €34m (£30.1m). 

- A handful of reports in Italy suggest Bernard Arnault, the billionaire owner of Louis Vuitton, is interested in buying Serie A giants AC Milan

- Back with Manchester United, and Calciomercato say JuventusInter, Milan and Borussia Dortmund are all keeping an eye on Nemanja Matic, who has grown frustrated at his reduced role in Solskjaer's plans.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen says it was "inappropriate" for Manuel Neuer to criticise him for speaking out about a desire for more game time for Germany.

Barcelona goalkeeper Ter Stegen described it as a "massive blow" not to feature for his country against Netherlands and Northern Ireland in the international break.

The 27-year-old has had to serve as back-up to Neuer for most of his international career, despite increasing calls for him to be given the number one spot ahead of the Bayern Munich star.

Neuer accused Ter Stegen of being unhelpful by expressing his frustrations in public and suggested he had shown something of a lack of respect towards Bernd Leno and Kevin Trapp, who likewise are battling for more Germany playing time.

Ter Stegen, who has returned to his homeland for Tuesday's Champions League clash between Barca and Borussia Dortmund, thinks Neuer has been unfair but wants to draw a line under the issue.

He told a news conference: "I would like to say something about this. You cannot say we have competition for the goalkeeper position and then expect the players to be happy with the situation if they don't play. Football is about happiness but also disappointment.

"Manuel Neuer does not need to comment on my personal feelings and measure them, I'd say. It's my own opinion. If you think about the last few years, you realise that I always behaved well and what Neuer and other people have said is not fair.

"His remarks were inappropriate but I don't want to say much more. I want to end this controversy."

Ter Stegen's immediate priority is to help sure up Barca's defence, with the Catalans having conceded seven goals in their opening four LaLiga games of 2019-20.

"We're trying to stop the goals going in but things haven't come off," he said. "It's not what we expected. We have to improve. There have been mistakes that we can easily correct. We've spoken about it."

Lionel Messi has trained well in recent days but Ernesto Valverde remains wary of rushing him back into action when Barcelona face Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.

The Argentina star has not featured this season due to a calf injury sustained in pre-season but was named in the travelling squad for Barca's opening Champions League group game at Signal Iduna Park.

Valverde has been pleased with Messi's training performances but will not make a decision on whether his captain will start the match until closer to kick-off.

"We'll decide before the game," he said. "It wasn't very clear a week ago if he could come, but he was with the team in the last few training sessions, finishing well, taking the fear of pain out of his mind. We'll see what we do."

Whether or not Messi returns, Barca could well hand a Champions League debut to Ansu Fati, the 16-year-old who has taken LaLiga by storm this season.

Fati became Barca's youngest ever league goalscorer against Osasuna last month and marked his full Camp Nou debut on Saturday with a goal and an assist in the first seven minutes of the 5-2 thrashing of Valencia.

"I've not spoken with him, save for tactical matters," Valverde admitted. "I don't like the history of giving advice. Of course I will talk with him, but you have to give him some breathing space.

"What he is doing is exceptional. If he plays, it's not so he can break a record, but because of the needs of the team. We love him."

Barca have only lost one of their past 28 group-stage matches but are under huge pressure to perform this season after collapsing in the semi-finals to throw away a 3-0 first-leg lead over Liverpool.

Valverde believes Dortmund will offer a good litmus test for his side, as he looks to put the disappointment of the 4-0 loss at Anfield and the dramatic quarter-final exit to Roma the year before behind him.

"I expect a rival of the highest level, a challenger for everything in their country and in Europe, and a good yardstick for us," he said.

"It's a competition in which one bad day can knock you out, even if you have had a great competition until that moment. The two teams in the final last year [Liverpool and Tottenham] lost more games than we did. You can't neglect even 10 minutes."

Tuesday's game will see Barca come up against Paco Alcacer, who has flourished since leaving Barca initially on loan in 2018.

"Alcacer is a great player and he's showing that for Dortmund and the national team," Valverde said. "He's playing regularly with Dortmund. What we know about him is both an advantage and a disadvantage."

Lionel Messi was named in Barcelona's squad for Tuesday's Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund and Marco Reus hopes the forward is fit to play.

Dortmund host LaLiga champions Barca in their Group F opener, with Messi in contention to make his first appearance of the season.

The Argentine superstar has missed Barca's opening four LaLiga fixtures with a calf problem but has been included in Ernesto Valverde's squad despite the coach suggesting on Friday the 32-year-old would not be ready in time. 

It remains to be seen whether Messi will be able to start, though Dortmund captain Reus is hopeful the diminutive talisman does make an appearance as the Bundesliga side aim to test themselves against the best Europe has to offer.

"We want Messi to play, but we cannot influence what tomorrow will look like," Germany international Reus told a media conference on Monday. 

"We do not want to talk that much about the opponent. Everyone knows that he is the best, but we play at home and want to win.

"A difficult game awaits us. We have to be careful and will we have to suffer a lot in the game. We have to be brave and play our game, put ourselves forward and then hope to score goals."

Paco Alcacer could be key for Dortmund as the Spain striker goes up against his former club for the first time.

Alcacer spent two seasons at Camp Nou, struggling to secure a regular spot following a move from fellow LaLiga club Valencia.

The 26-year-old enjoyed a fantastic maiden season at Dortmund, scoring 18 Bundesliga goals in 26 outings, and has netted five times in four league appearances this term.

Reus is backing the striker – who accused "many people" at Barca of treating him badly during his stint in Catalonia – to impress against his former employers.

"I've talked to him a few times. He is calm," said Reus. "Of course, he is looking forward to it because he has spent nice years there, even if he had not too much game time.

"I hope he can help us in the game. He is an important player. He plays smart on the pitch, he knows where the next man is.

"He is an ice-cold top scorer who does not need many chances, his statistics are outstanding. But even for him there is room for improvement, as with any player."

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