Substitute Marouane Fellaini was an unlikely source of inspiration as Manchester United comfortably defeated Basel 3-0 in Group A on their return to the Champions League.
"When we play at this speed it's very difficult to play against us", Rakitic told reporters. Rafinha will miss out on this game since he is yet to recover from injury, as will Arda Turan. Thiago Alcantara and Joshua Kimmich added to the scoreline in the second half.
It would be tempting to say that the centre of gravity is the midfield again, and there may be something in that, but the real centre of gravity remains Messi.
However, Rico backtracked from his claim on Twitter last night by tweeting: "He warned the public: I've been raised with Dembele and Messi".
The Juve clash, a repeat of last season's quarter-final tie won by the Italians and the 2015 Champions League final in which Barca triumphed, was one of the most eagerly anticipated fixtures in Europe this week.
The club had been left red-faced by the failure to sign top targets Philippe Coutinho and Angel Di Maria when the transfer window shut and the squad looked weakened following the world-record departure of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain.
Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick, while Ousmane Dembele set up a goal for Luis Suarez on his debut as Valverde's men thrashed local rivals Espanyol 5-0 on Saturday. "I have great team-mates who help me a lot".
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri took it one step further, backing Dybala to one day prove himself equal to the likes of Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.
Max Allegri will have to do without the likes of injured, Khedira, Marchisio, Mandzukic and Chiellini plus Juan Cuadrado who is suspended.
Juventus probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Buffon - Barzagli, Benatia, Rugani, Alex Sandro - Pjanic, Matuidi - Douglas Costa, Dybala, Sturaro - Higuain. The Catalans have won the first three matches. Valverde opined: "Everyone is in charge of their own life and their own future".
The two sides will be meeting in the competition for the third time in the last four years. "It'll be an intense match", said Valverde.
It was fine play from the Argentine that led to Ivan Rakitic doubling Barca's lead on 56 minutes and Messi saved the best for last with a sublime goal to complete the victory midway through the second half.
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