Some Barcelona fans are pleased that Lionel Messi is ‘finally’ being handed a rest by Ronald Koeman ahead of tomorrow night’s Champions League tie against Dynamo Kyiv.
Koeman has confirmed in his pre-match press conference that the all-time great and Frenkie de Jong won’t be travelling to Ukraine as the pair ‘need to rest’.
The Dutchman adds that Tuesday’s encounter is an ideal opportunity to do so as the Blaugrana currently sit top of their Champions League group with three wins from three matches.
This will be Messi’s first full rest of the season, the mercurial attacker didn’t start against Real Betis before the international break but came off the bench at halftime and starred to inspire a 5-2 win.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 23, 2020
“Well we’ve got various players out due to injuries and we’ve decided that we won’t be taking Leo or Frenkie because the situation in the Champions League is something that’s quite comfortable for us with the nine points that we’ve got.”
“These two players need to rest because they’ve played a lot of matches and we think this is a good moment to rest them.”
Here’s how some of the Barcelona faithful have reacted to the decision:
Good, Messi needs rest
— Crochet Crochet? (@AnsuAddict) November 23, 2020
Smart to rest them
— Amadeus (@LaksfiskerYT) November 23, 2020
Messi can cook miracles on the bench his presence is important. Anyway the good thing is that he is finally resting Koeman is trying to avoid the temptation of bringing him from the bench
— Obediom (@Obediom1) November 23, 2020
Finally a rest for Messi and Frenkie and a BIG opportunity for the others to shine!!! Riqui’s time has come!!!?? https://t.co/sAwWteY4N3
— Karthik (@kartfcb) November 23, 2020
No messi?! V gud! Must to learn how to win without him. The hard way!!
— Ekow Gotty?? (@EkowGotty) November 23, 2020
Good decision. After long flights from Argentina, he needs it.
— ???? (@husamArchi) November 23, 2020
It’s clear that a rest is long overdue for the 33-year-old, who exclaimed that he’s sick of being the ‘problem’ at Barcelona when he was met by reporters as he returned from Argentina last week.
Barcelona’s squad for the trip to Kyiv will include just one natural centre-back following Gerard Pique’s knee injury, leaving some talented youngsters with the possible chance to shine.
Riqui Puig and Carles Alena are in line to cover the absences in midfield of De Jong and Sergio Busquets, Konrad De la Fuente is the attacker that could make a splash, whilst Oscar Mingueza could be the man to partner Clement Lenglet in central defence.