Barcelona face Sevilla in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final clash on Wednesday night, but Lionel Messi will play no part.
The Catalan giants have a busy fortnight ahead, as they play four games between January 23 and February 2, which will undoubtedly test their quality and depth.
With that in mind, it’s no real surprise that coach Ernesto Valverde is rotating his squad, as he’ll want to avoid any costly injury setbacks while keeping his players fresh for the business end of the campaign.
Messi will be rested in midweek as he hasn’t been included in the squad to face Sevilla, as seen in the club’s tweet below, although there could be an immediate debut for Kevin-Prince Boateng after he was officially unveiled to the media at the Nou Camp on Tuesday.
Although their talisman is missing, it’s still a very strong squad from the reigning Spanish champions, with Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho, Ivan Rakitic and Gerard Pique all getting the nod.
Those stalwarts are complemented by some younger starlets who will be hoping to be given a chance to impress by Valverde, but it remains to be seen who is rested by the Barcelona boss as he also has the trip to Girona on Sunday to consider.
Barcelona are in fine form having won six of their last seven games across all competitions, and they’ll be hoping to keep themselves in contention against Sevilla, with Messi being saved until the second leg if he is required.
However, based on the reaction of some fans below, they aren’t impressed with the idea of resting him at the risk of their side missing his decisive class in the final third.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 22, 2019
WHERE IS THE GOAT
— Never Back Down (@ELBAZZZZZZER) January 22, 2019
Congrats with a victory, Sevilla …
— ????? ? (@IrinaMaylander) January 22, 2019
No Messi No Party
— ? Dr Khushboo ????? (@KhushiKadri) January 22, 2019
Where is MESSI!!!!! Valverde wants to lose!!!!
— EggHeadArmin (@ArminEgg) January 22, 2019
No dembele and messi this looks scary ?????
— IVAN DRAGO (@Maleekdanyaro) January 22, 2019
— FC BARCELONA NEWS (@StanleyMwani) January 22, 2019
Where is Messi, busquets? And when Dembele is out. Clearly Copa is not a priority this year.
— Zain (@zainwani) January 22, 2019
Saving the GOAT for the second leg I see ?
— MessiTheGOAT (@InspiredByMessi) January 22, 2019
Where’s MESSI the GOAT?
— Chijioke9 (@Chijioke910) January 22, 2019
Messi? Donde está Messi?
— Eduardo César Zavala (@EdTronic4) January 22, 2019