Messi not Sevilla's only worry with Navas in doubt

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi is the "best in the world" but Sevilla must also be wary of his team-mates, according to Pablo Machin.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi and Sevilla's Jesus Navas   -  Getty Images

Sevilla must not allow Lionel Messi's superb record against it to distort its broader focus on Barcelona, Pablo Machin has warned.

The Blaugrana's superstar captain boasts a personal best 33 goals in all competitions against Sevilla, which heads into Saturday's crunch home fixture without a win in three LaLiga matches.

Sevilla beat Barca 2-0 in the first leg of its Copa del Rey quarter-final tie last month, only to crumble to a 6-1 defeat at Camp Nou on Messi's return to the starting XI.

The 31-year-old Argentina great has netted 22 times in as many LaLiga appearances this term and shapes as the key figure in a match billed as pivotal in the champion's bid to defend its title.

"He is the best in the world and we have to realise that," Sevilla head coach Machin said.

Read: Valverde confident Barcelona's dry spell is a blip

"That's obvious, but their team is very strong as well. Barcelona scored five against Real Madrid [in October] without Messi.

"He is important but the collective is even more so."

Sevilla's impressive early season form has ebbed away in 2019 and left the Andalusian club 17 points adrift of top spot.

The club successfully ousted Lazio from the Europa League's last 16 with a 3-0 aggregate victory, but Jesus Navas picked up a muscle problem in the late stages of Wednesday's second leg.

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The 33-year-old is now in a race against time to be fit for Barca's visit despite being included in Machin's 18-man squad.

"Other than the injured players we already had, Navas is the biggest doubt," he added.

"We have to see how he progresses. These 24 hours are important to see how the player is, what sensations he has and from there make a decision."

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