Football

Champions League rivals should be careful of Barca: Aguero

Barcelona might be at a low ebb with their financial struggles and the departure of talisman Lionel Messi to Paris Saint-Germain, but Sergio Aguero insists his new club should not be written off.

Speaking ahead of their Champions League Group E opener at home to Bayern Munich tomorrow morning (Singapore time), the ex-Manchester City striker, who has yet to make his debut for Barca, told RAC1: "Barcelona are Barcelona, so we have to fight for every title.

"We're not favourites in the Champions League, but our opponents will have respect for us.

GROUP E
BARCELONA BAYERN MUNICH

"Whenever I've faced Barcelona, even at their worst, we've always said that 'it's Barcelona'.

"Maybe people don't expect much from us in the Champions League, but be careful."

Bayern veteran Thomas Mueller, 32, meanwhile, said he found it hard to "assess" a Barca side without Messi.

He told Mundo Deportivo: "It's a shame that he is not there. When you play against a team that has Leo Messi, it's something that gives additional motivation to everyone...

"I have to admit that, actually, I cannot assess Barcelona. Without doubt, without Messi, they will be a different team.

"It's possible that without Messi they will have a player with more defensive contributions. I don't know what awaits us."

There could be added pressure on Mueller, with star striker Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry injury doubts.

Coach Julian Nagelsmann was more hopeful on Lewandowski, who came off during the 4-1 win over RB Leipzig on Saturday as a "precautionary measure" for an adductor problem, but sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said Gnabry will "probably be out against Barcelona".

Barca's Aguero, Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati are still out injured while Sergino Dest is doubtful and Martin Braithwaite is going for knee surgery.

The problems at Barca extend beyond the pitch, with coach Ronald Koeman sniping at club president Joan Laporta, telling NOS: "He was suggesting that the coach does not have all the power. He spoke too much and was not wise on two occasions...

"That can be done in private. I like when a president is engaged and asks questions, only that should not happen in the press. That was the problem.

"I'm open to staying. I'm just having a good time. Thanks to me, this club has a future."

Football