Barcelona and Chelsea meet in the Champions League next week, and Lionel Messi has reportedly offered his opinion on two crucial decisions.
The last-16 tie is finely poised after the two sides played out a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge in the first leg, with Messi’s equaliser wiping out Willian’s opener, which could yet prove to be a crucial away goal.
Nevertheless, Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has two key decisions to make for the return fixture at the Nou Camp as Philippe Coutinho is ineligible to play, while Andres Iniesta is a fitness doubt after picking up an injury in the win over Atletico Madrid at the weekend, as per Marca.
It seems slightly strange that Messi seems to have so much of a say in matters concerning the club, whether it be transfer talk or decision-making with regards to the current team as he is often paired with having an influence by the Spanish media.
In truth, there is sensible reasoning to the touted calls that Messi wants to see made. Suarez could be crucial in terms of keeping possession and dominating the game with his technical quality, while Dembele’s pace and movement could prove problematic for the visitors.
The French youngster hasn’t been able to display enough of his quality since his summer move to Barcelona from Borussia Dortmund, making just 11 appearances in all competitions having had rotten luck with injuries.
Nevertheless, perhaps this could be the perfect stage for him to make a real impression and prove the investment was worth it, as he seemingly has the backing and trust of Messi to have a positive impact on the game.
It remains to be seen whether or not Valverde will agree with Messi’s reported suggestions, while he’s got a La Liga meeting with Malaga to think about first on Saturday night to ensure that his side go into that Chelsea full of confidence with another win under their belts.