As he ponders whether or not to play Lionel Messi, Josep Guardiola said FC Barcelona face a repeat of last term's disappointments against FC Rubin Kazan if they do not take their chances.
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Josep Guardiola warned FC Barcelona will have to learn from last season's slip-ups against FC Rubin Kazan if they are to avoid more disappointment at the hands of the Russian titleholders in UEFA Champions League Group D. Rubin took four points off the Catalan side and though their coach Kurban Berdyev is not banking on a repeat, he says nights like these are "something you have to enjoy" – whether Lionel Messi returns from injury in time to play or not.
Kurban Berdyev, Rubin coach
Barcelona are still the best team in the world, and the team and players keep getting better. For instance, Daniel Alves is now much more aggressive, and with David Villa there is now more variety to their attacks. He is perfect playing on the shoulder of the last defender.
As for Lionel Messi's injury, when I saw him go down I didn't want it to be anything serious; his skills are heavenly and he is an asset to football. I want to see Messi on the pitch, but no coach in the world wants to be up against him. We have several options, though, depending on whether he plays or not.
We have a different lineup from last season. This match will be harder as our new players still need time to settle in. The whole team knows it will be a tough match, but at the same time the guys are playing against the best team in the world; it's something you have to enjoy.
Josep Guardiola, Barcelona coach
Since last year Rubin have lost their two key players, Sergei Semak and Aleksandr Bukharov, but they are still playing well. We should also note that some good, expensive players have joined them. In Copenhagen two weeks ago [a 1-0 defeat] they attacked, but on Wednesday I think they will play more defensively.
We have to listen to what the doctors say regarding Lionel Messi and to the player himself. The match is very important and if there is a chance of him playing he will. We learned Rubin are a great team after playing them last year; they are excellent in defence. To beat them our passing will need to be very sharp and we will have to take our chances, otherwise it's possible we won't win again.
Bebars Natcho returned to the bench at the weekend after shaking off a knee problem, while Vitali Kaleshin, Carlos Eduardo (both colds) and Salvatore Bocchetti (muscle injury) are also fit after absences. Roman Sharonov is likely to miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.
Lionel Messi took part in Tuesday's training session and could feature after recovering from a sprained right ankle. Éric Abidal has returned to training after missing three games to be with his ill grandfather in Martinique, but Adriano is out with a torn thigh muscle.
25/09/10 Rubin 1-0 FC Alania Vladikavkaz
Berdyev's team recorded a sixth successive home win to extend their unbeaten league run to seven matches. Bocchetti scored his first goal for Rubin following his arrival from Genoa CFC in August, only his second strike in all competitions since April 2008.
25/09/10 Athletic Club 1-3 Barcelona
(Gabilondo 90; Keita 55, Xavi 74, Busquets 90+2)
Villa was sent off three minutes from time, just three days after scoring the only goal in Barcelona's win against Real Sporting de Gijón. Guardiola made three changes to the team that beat Villa's old club, Gerard Piqué, Adriano and Pedro Rodríguez coming into the starting lineup.
Did you know?
Aleksandr Ryazantsev and Gökdeniz Karadeniz were on target in a stunning 2-1 victory for Rubin at Camp Nou on Matchday 3 last season. The return finished scoreless.
See the match background for more information.