LaLiga: Former Barcelona defender Abelardo, now coach of Sporting Gijon, says it makes no difference whether Lionel Messi plays against his side.
Lionel Messi's absence through injury will not make a difference to Barcelona, according to Sporting Gijon boss Abelardo.
The Argentina star is set to miss three weeks of action with a groin strain he picked up during the 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou on Wednesday.
Messi is expected to sit out Saturday's clash with Sporting, the Champions League trip to Borussia Monchengladbach, and the league meeting with Celta Vigo on October 2 - Barca's final match before the next international break.
But former Spain international Abelardo, twice a LaLiga winner with Barca during his playing career, says the resources at Luis Enrique's disposal mean that Messi will not be missed.
"It doesn't matter if Messi plays or not, because Barcelona enjoy amazing resources and a great squad," he said, speaking ahead of Sporting's trip to Camp Nou on Saturday.
"Messi is a super-dominant player, but Barcelona have an extraordinary squad. Messi has been absent on other occasions and the result hasn't changed.
"It's a really beautiful game to play. They're one of the best teams in the world, if not the best, and we're going to give it a go without weapons."