Andrés Iniesta knows his words carry a lot of weight.

That’s why, on the day of the presentation of his new book, the FC Barcelona captain took the time to respond to questions from journalists regarding not just the team’s most recent performance, but also its injured superstar, Lionel Messi.

“With Messi out we have to step up,” Iniesta said. “Championships are won by teams.”

Nevertheless, Iniesta — and everyone else in the Barça universe — knows full well that Messi is irreplaceable.

“We hope he recovers properly and as quickly as possible,” he said.

Messi was injured in the second half of FC Barcelona’s 1–1 draw with Atlético Madrid on Wednesday night at Camp Nou.

Barça were leading, 1–0, when Messi came off, and Atlético drew level just one minute later.

But despite the draw, Iniesta said Barça “deserved the three points.”

“We played a very complete game,” he said. “We just have keep moving forward.”

If history is a guide, the team will do just that.

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