Ousmane Dembele asked for Lionel Messi's shirt in Barcelona dressing room

Carla Harmon
September 13, 2017

Ernesto Valverde sings the praises of Barcelona's hat-trick hero Lionel Messi after a win over Catalan rivals Espanyol.

Tonight, they host the team that took them out of the European Cup previous year and are seeking revenge against Juventus in the first leg of the Champions League Group Stage.

Dembele's inclusion at the expense of Gerard Deulofeu is Valverde's only change for his first European test as Barca boss.

In the team Juventus, Defender Giorgio Chiellini and midfielders Sami Khedira, Claudio Marchisio, and Marko Pjaca are all injured.

Dybala also netted twice against Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League in 2016-17, and he boasts numerous attacking qualities that would make him a decent replacement for Brazilian Neymar after his £200 million summer move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Barca's start to the season has been dominated by calls for president Josep Maria Bartomeu to resign following Neymar's world record move to Paris Saint-Germain and the Catalan giants' bungled moves to replace the Brazilian. In the first half, Chelsea took a 2-0 lead thanks to goals by Pedro Rodriguez and new signing Davide Zappacosta scintillating effort. Their elimination of Barcelona last season is still very recent.

Messi had been closed down well by the Italians, but his incredible start to the season continued at the start of injury time when he scored the opening goal of the game after exchanging passes with Suarez and beating Buffon with a left foot shot into the corner.

Juan Cuadrado is banned, Benedikt Howedes is still not ready to feature, but Alex Sandro returns after recovering from a bout of flu.

In Barcelona, Leo Messi went ballistic on Gigi Buffon; scoring a brace and leading Barca to a 3 - 0 win over last years runner up, Juventus. One of the most exciting young players in the world right now, Dybala captured headlines last season. His performances have even drawn comparisons with his compatriot and national team captain Lionel Messi. It took four games, but Juventus finally found that out in Barcelona's 3-0 victory on Tuesday.

This will be Barcelona's 22nd appearance in the competition, which matches Real Madrid and Porto for the most all-time, and their 14th consecutive appearance - second only to Real Madrid. However, La Gazzetta dello Sport report that Allegri will revert back to 4-2-3-1 in the Champions League encounter in order that Dybala have a free role behind compatriot Higuain.

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