Barcelona manager, Ernesto Valverde, has explained that he left Lionel Messi on the bench against Juventus to give him a breather, as Barcelona booked their place in the Champions League knockout rounds on Wednesday.
Messi came on in the second half as Barca were held to a 0-0 draw in Turin.
The decision to name the Argentina captain as a substitute had come as a surprise in the build-up to kickoff, as he had previously started each of Barca’s 16 La Liga and Champions League games this season.
However, Valverde revealed that his plan was to rest the player ahead of Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash against Valencia.
“Messi’s fine. It was a difficult decision. He feels a great deal of responsibility within the club and the team.
“But he has played a lot of games and eventually he had to have a to rest. We thought it would be a tight game and then it would open up. The idea was he could come on in the second half, with the game more open. That was the decision,” Valverde stated.
Source: EneNaija Video