Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has welcomed Lionel Messi's return to full fitness, with the Argentine star ready to lead the attack alongside Luis Suarez and Neymar when Manchester City visit the Nou Camp on Wednesday night (19 October). The boss also confirmed Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba are available for the crunch Champions League clash, despite the pair missing the weekend's 4-0 win over Deportivo la Coruna.
Messi returned from three weeks on the sidelines in that game with the Galicians, replacing Sergio Busquets after 55 minutes and scoring the fourth goal just two minutes later. The Argentine proved his fitness and looks ready to form the fearful 'MSN' in attack from the start against Pep Guardiola's boys.
"I think is wonderful that all three can be on the team, it's always great news to have Leo back. To win against City we need all our players at their best," the Barcelona boss said in a press conference ahead of the game.
The good news extended to the backline as well, with Alba and Sergi Roberto back after picking up injuries during the recent international break. Luis Enrique confirmed the starting full-backs have trained well during the week and are ready to marshal his defence.
"Both [Alba and Sergi Roberto] have been able to train with the rest of the group and are in condition to play," the Barcelona manager confirmed.
The Catalans have triumphed in their opening two games in Group C, a comprehensive win over Celtic followed by victory against Borussia Monchengladbach. City are two points behind, having beaten the Germans before a thrilling draw against Brendan Rodgers' side. However, Luis Enrique believes the game will not necessarily decide who goes through to the final 16 as group winners.
"It is a good chance [to move ahead in the group] but then we have to go to Manchester. It is the third game in the group and when this is over there will be still three games left. Nothing will be decided yet," Luis Enrique added.
The game sees Guardiola return to the stadium where he became an idol, both as a player and a manager. He won three La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues in four seasons as Barcelona boss. Luis Enrique is hot on his heels, having secured two league titles and one European crown since taking over from Gerardo Martino in the summer of 2014.
The current Barcelona boss paid tribute to his opponent, calling him the best manager in the world and talking up the motivation factor of facing a friend.
"It's a great incentive, not only vying for first place but also playing against Guardiola's team. It's always an incentive to take on teams coached by friends," he said. "For me he is the best current coach. I love attacking coaches like him. Since pre-season you can see the influence of Guardiola on [Manchester] City. He has a big part to play in his teams and they will want the ball, the same way that we do."