Valverde Considers Resting Messi Ahead of United Return

Aubrey Yates
April 14, 2019

0 - Lionel Messi has failed to score in any of his last 11 Champions League quarterfinal appearances for Barcelona; since netting against Paris Saint-Germain in April 2013, the Argentina forward has attempted 49 shots without success at this stage of the competition.

However, he produced the assist for the only goal scored in the match.

"It's possible that Messi rests", the coach said in a news conference before announcing the squad.

"When you see the atmosphere here and the team they have and it being the Champions League, it's hard to win here", Valverde said.

"But he was knocked [by the incident]".

"It's possible", said Valverde, when asked about the chance of Messi sitting out this weekend. "We will analyse him later but it is a possibility". "He knew it was an accident".

Messi will undoubtedly want to exact revenge in next week's second leg at the Camp Nou by knocking United out of the Champions League.

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Sergio Busquets also misses out, while Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique are suspended. Ivan Rakitic and Sergi Roberto have both been ruled out with minor problems.

With only Marce-Andre ter Stegen keeping his place from Barcelona's Champions League exploits in midweek, Ernesto Valverde's heavily rotated team selection on Saturday was always going to be under scrutiny.

Despite the defeat they are 20 points clear of second-placed Napoli, who have seven games remaining this season.

"We have to be switched on". Nobody goes to the second leg thinking "that's done, I qualified already" or "that's done, I have no chance".

Martin Edwards has now recalled the first time he saw Ronaldo who was at the time a teenager revealing that the Portuguese star showed off a lot of his tricks.

"Another intense match is waiting for us tomorrow and then again on Tuesday, so we will make changes".

Celta's defeat to Atletico means they are still in the scrap, two points separating them from the bottom three.

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