Valverde hopes Fati avoids Under-17 World Cup with Messi sidelined

Lionel Messi's injury has added to Barcelona's problems with coach Ernesto Valverde hoping that Ansu Fati does not go to the Under-17 World Cup.

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has started only one game this La Liga season.   -  Getty Images

Ernesto Valverde does not want Ansu Fati to go to the Under-17 World Cup with Barcelona already without Lionel Messi.

Messi has only started one game this season, the La Liga defeat of Villarreal on Tuesday in which he was substituted at half-time.

Barca said Messi has an adductor injury but has offered no timescale for his return to action, with the Argentina attacker set to miss Saturday's trip to Getafe and unlikely to return for Inter's visit in the Champions League next week.

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With Ousmane Dembele only just back to full fitness and Luis Suarez having also missed games due to injury this season Valverde's forward options have been limited.

That has enabled 16-year-old Fati to burst on to the scene with two La Liga goals in a series of thrilling displays, but he could be selected for the U17 World Cup by Spain.

The tournament runs from October 26 to November 17 in Brazil, though there are reports Spain could instead fast-track Fati into their U21 squad.

"I'd like him to be with us," Valverde said of the teenager. "If he goes with the Under-21 team it would be for the international break, for the Under-17s it would be longer.

"We'll have to wait and see what decision the confederation makes so there isn't much else to say. We'd like him to be away for as little time as possible."

Of Messi's fitness, Valverde added: "I don't know how long he's going to be out, hopefully he'll be back with the team soon. It's not a serious injury so let's wait and see what he looks like today and going into next week.

"If he plays we have certain strengths, if he's not we're missing a top-quality player who makes a huge difference. We have other resources to take games on and we've done that. It's a setback but we can only keep going."

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Barca goes to Getafe on the back of a run of seven straight away games in all competitions without a win, while its host is unbeaten in six matches. Valverde is expecting a tough challenge at Coliseum Alfonso Perez.

"They're a solid team, it's hard to cope with their pressure," he said. "Very good in attack with players that come through to put you under pressure.

"It was hard to win there [2-1] last year, we played a good game but it was difficult. They always make chances at home and don't give away many.

"Sometimes it's like we have to win as soon as possible to stop a problem. We want to win the points always. We haven't won away or played well away, in general we haven't played well away and we need to focus on that.

"Sometimes the score works out and sometimes it doesn't. You need to play good football and this is what gets results."

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