Barça left to sweat on Henry fitness for crucial tie

Thierry Henry remains Barcelona's biggest doubt ahead of tomorrow night's Champions League semi-final against Manchester United after missing training for the second day running complaining of a fever.

It has now been over a week since Henry trained properly with his team-mates and, barring a late surprise, he will start on the bench with 17-year-old Bojan Krkic or Portuguese international Deco taking his place.

Bojan, who scored the crucial first-leg goal against Schalke 04 in the last round would be a straight swap, but Frank Rijkaard, Barcelona's coach, has the option of moving the industrious Andres Iniesta further forward and bringing Deco into midfield.

The former Porto player has not played since injuring himself in the warm-up ahead of a match with Villarreal on 9 March but he insisted: "I'm 100 per cent ready, I could even have played at the weekend, it was the coach's decision not to use me."

Deco would be lining-up against his international team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, who he yesterday declared to be "the best player in the world, along with Lionel Messi".

The midfielder admitted that Barça was not a happy camp after such a disappointing league campaign but said everything would, be different against Manchester United. "It is evident that we are not happy but we have to make the most of this game. We have failed in the league but the season is not over yet."

It will be an amazing turnaround for Deco if he starts, having only a fortnight ago been implicated in an unofficial club policy of not picking certain players because of their off-the-pitch behaviour. A high-ranking club official, Xavier Sala Martin, had said: "There are one, two or three players who are isolated from the team and we disguise it by saying they are injured."

Rafa Marquez who, along with Ronaldinho, was understood to be the third of those players, will also start tomorrow night in the absence of the suspended Carles Puyol.

Controversy has never been far away this season and Barcelona go into the game fresh from comments made by Samuel Eto'o that he would leave the club if next season turned into a repeat of this one.

The Cameroon international said: "I have reached as high as I can in Barcelona and in Spain. If next season things stay the same without winning anything here, then I will have to go somewhere else because I want to win things."

Such comments will cause Chelsea and Milan who have both been linked with Eto'o in the past, to prick up their ears.

In a more positive vein the forward added: "We are going to get past United and into the final. We are our own biggest problem. If we play as well as we can, then we will put United in trouble."

Johan Cruyff, the Barcelona legend and ever-willing adviser to Rijkaard, believes the work rate of Eto'o and his fellow strikers will be the key for United's opponents.

"The strikers need to be on top of their defence," Cruyff said. "Where do United have all the talent? From the midfield onwards. Where do they have their worst players? In defence. And by worst I mean technically, not physically.

"So if you know they have their worst players at the back, then you have to put pressure on them. Some good pressure will provoke errors when they are passing the ball, precisely because they are not particularly gifted at it."

The club's former player and coach said he believed the game could be decided by a few errors because, player for player, the teams were so evenly matched. He added: "If United have Cristiano Ronaldo, Barcelona have Messi. If Ferguson's team has Rooney, we have Eto'o. If they have Tevez, we have Bojan or Henry. Scholes? Iniesta. Rio Ferdinand? Milito. As far as individual talent is concerned there is nothing between the two sides."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before