Barcelona coach, Ronald Koeman, has confirmed that club captain, Lionel Messi, has been rested for Barcelona’s Champions League trip to Dynamo Kiev on Tuesday.
Messi opted out of a legal battle with the club after he was not allowed to activate an alleged clause in his contract which allows him to leave Barcelona for free in the summer.
The Argentine also said he was “tired of always being the problem for everything at the club” in response to criticism of his level of control at Barcelona from Antoine Griezmann’s former agent Eric Olhats after the international break.
Ronald Koeman, however, insists Messi and Frenkie de Jong are being rested and it is just routine, with the club having made a strong start to their Champions League campaign.
“We’ve got various players out due to injuries and we’ve decided that we won’t be taking Leo or Frankie because the situation in the Champions League is quite comfortable for us with the nine points that we’ve got,” Koeman said on Monday.
“And these two players need to rest because they have played a lot of matches. So we think this is a good moment to rest them.”
Barcelona have started strongly in Europe but are struggling domestically, with just one win in their last six La Liga matches leaving them 12th in the table and 11 points behind leaders Real Sociedad, albeit with two games in hand.
Atletico Madrid inflicted more pain on the Spanish giant on Saturday with defenders Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto suffering significant injuries.
The club however confirmed after the game that Pique had sprained the internal lateral ligament in his right knee as well as sustaining a partial injury to the anterior crucial ligament, while Roberto ruptured a muscle in his thigh.
It’s yet to be seen how Barcelona would play in Tuesday’s match against Dynamo having steered three points clear of Juventus at the top of Group G, with just one more win required to book their place in the knockout stages.