FC Barcelona star Neymar has been backed by team mate Sergio Busquets to fill the void left behind by super star Lionel Messi, as they prepare to take on BATE Borisov in the UEFA Champions League.

Messi has been out ruled out up until November, following a knee injury in the La Liga tie against Las Palmas.

Neymar came to the fore in the last game against Rayo Vallecano, scoring four times and assisting the fifth, as the Bluagrana ran away 5-2 winners.

Busquets reckons Neymar can be the “leader” in the absence of Lionel Messi

Team mate Sergio Busquets has backed the Brazil captain to continue his good form and lead Barcelona to more wins in the absence of the Argentina superstar.

Speaking ahead of the BATE tie, Busquets was quoted saying by Goal.com: “Messi’s absence does show. We’re trying to give everything so that we don’t notice his absence, but we do. He scores more goals, gives more assists.

“Neymar has the capability to be a leader in the absence of Leo. He’s one of those players who can make the team feel better.”

Barcelona respect BATE

The midfielder went on to lament the inability to field Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal, as the Catalans have been hit hard by injuries and suspension to the registered players, including Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Rafinha Alcantara. Busquets also went on to add that the Barcelona side are not underestimating the Belarusian champions.

“It’s not normal that FIFA won’t allow us to sign players. But we have no excuses. We know that Arda and Aleix Vidal can’t play for us until January,” he said.

“To win here and to win afterwards in Barcelona would give us six very important points.

“We respect all our opponents. All away games in the Champions League are difficult. We’re ready, but all we think about is winning.”

Barcelona have four points from their opening two UEFA Champions League games, having drawn 1-1 at Roma and narrowly beaten Leverkusen with a 2-1 scoreline at home.


The two BATE ties are must win, if Barca are to end the group as the leaders, as they hope to become the first side to win back-to-back UEFA Champions League since the tournament was re-branded in the 1992-93 season.