Cesc Fabregas is likely to play in the ‘false 9’ position usually occupied by Lionel Messi, when Barcelona take on Celtic in the Champions League tonight.
Last season, Barca were shockingly beaten in Glasgow, in a result which revealed that the wheels were gradually coming off their European campaign.
And Fabregas is aware that the Spanish champions will again face an onslaught, especially without the “best player in the world” to call on.
Messi is injured and faces up to three weeks out of action. Consequently, Cesc has called on his team-mates to prove that Barca are far more than just a vehicle for La Pulga Atomica’s astonishing exploits.
“Messi is the best player in the world, he makes the difference in games, but he is not here and we cannot do anything about that,” Fabregas said.
“Without Messi we must take responsibility as he is the player who scores more goals, makes more assists.
“When he is not there, everyone else must take a step forward, above all in attack. Tomorrow will be a big test as Leo will not be with us."
The one player that Fabregas has earmarked to pick up where Messi left off is Brazilian superstar Neymar.
The wiry forward recently scored his first league goal for the Blaugrana, and Fabregas believes that he will answer the call to inspire in Messi’s absence.
“Ney is a very talented player, very quick in small spaces, who can easily get away from defenders,” Fabregas said.
“He is a star in the making, he already is a star, but he will have a big say in the future of football.
“In the future we will speak of him as one of the greats. I do not see him worried by the pressure, which is very important for a young player. [Celtic] will sit back, with lots of players behind the ball, so he will be an important player for us.”