Barcelona coach Luis Enrique will wave his wand over the ‘Chosen Ones’ — Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar — to make sure they weave their magic at Arsenal in the Champions League last-16, first leg on Tuesday.
Asked what he does to get the best out of the trio, arguably the most dangerous forward line in world football, the former Barca midfielder joked that they made his job fairly easy.
“I tell them ‘abracadabra’ and the magic sparks, that’s all I do,” Luis Enrique told a news conference on Monday with a laugh before getting more serious.
“To be honest I always work really hard but it’s quite easy with them because in some situations in a game you don’t have to wish what they do because they already do it.”
Barca, bidding to become the first team to retain the European Cup since AC Milan achieved the feat 26 years ago, take a 32-match unbeaten run into the first leg at the Emirates.
Argentine Messi (15 goals), Uruguayan Suarez (25) and Brazilian Neymar (18) have scored a combined 58 times in La Liga to put Barca eight points clear at the top.
Luis Enrique, however, is just as keen for them to show off their defensive attributes against Arsenal.
“They are the ‘Chosen Ones’ because they are fantastic and always eager to win,” said the former Barca midfielder.
“We also depend on the pressure they put on up front to get the ball off the opposition.”
While many top European teams rotate their strikers, Messi, Suarez and Neymar are rarely given a breather by Barcelona.
“They never rest, or stop playing, but if they didn’t play they wouldn’t like it that much,” said midfielder Ivan Rakitic.
“They are like children when they play football. It would be like taking the ball away from them if we didn’t choose them. Those three make us a better team.”