By Jack Rathborn

Luis Enrique today insisted that Lionel Messi is “irreplaceable” and it will be a big challenge for Barcelona to cope without the superstar.

The Catalan giants confirmed at the weekend that Lionel Messi will miss “seven to eight weeks” after suffering medial collateral ligament damage in his left knee against Las Palmas.

The Barcelona manager was bombarded with questions about the Argentine’s injury and how the Blaugrana will cope in his absence ahead of their Champions League game against Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday.

“We’ll do what we have to do, but Messi is irreplaceable. It’s a big challenge, he’s our best player, but we already have the experience in pre-season when we played without him and Neymar,” Enrique said.

The media continued to push for more answers, however, primarily on how the team would adjust without the best player in the world and whether Neymar would have to take on greater responsibility.

Enrique rebuffed suggestion of the latter. “I never have to ask a player to step forward, Neymar will continue how he has been previously,” said the manager.

Away from the media storm surrounding the Messi injury,  there was some good news for the treble-winning coach, as Jordi Alba and Claudio Bravo have trained with the group and are “available in theory” to play at Camp Nou tomorrow night.