Lionel Messi will play no part in El Clasico this weekend, but the Barcelona icon has reportedly passed on some advice to his coach ahead of facing Real Madrid.
The 31-year-old is sidelined with a fractured arm which he sustained in the win over Sevilla last weekend, and so he will undoubtedly be a major loss for the Catalan giants.
What his absence does though is open up a spot in the attacking third, with the likes of Ousmane Dembele, Malcom and Rafinha all vying to be named in the starting line-up.
According to Don Balon, it’s been suggested that Messi has spoken with Ernesto Valverde and has passed on his advice that Dembele shouldn’t start and should be left on the bench for the all-important encounter.
It’s added that question marks have been raised by all concerned over his professionalism, and that isn’t the first time that’s been mentioned this week with ESPN echoing the same point with the club having concerns over their attacking starlet.
With that in mind, it’s expected that Rafinha will keep his place in the XI after impressing and scoring against Inter in the Champions League in midweek, with Malcom going through a struggle of his own having played just 25 minutes of football so far this season as Valverde hasn’t given him opportunities.
Moving forward though, it remains to be seen whether or not Dembele does make the necessary changes to fix the reported issues that exist. Given that Barcelona splashed out a whopping £135.5m on him, as per BBC Sport, they’ll be desperate to see the 21-year-old flourish and reach his full potential at the Nou Camp.
Messi seemingly doesn’t believe that’s what they’ll see on Sunday though and wants him out of the line-up, according to Don Balon.