Lionel Messi all over Barcelona’s La Liga conflict vs Osasuna.© AFP
Lionel Messi will be provided a well rest by coach Ronald Koeman as Barcelona commute to Hungary for a Champions League match at Ferencvaros on Wednesday with their tickets already booked for the next round. Barcelona top Group G on 12 points from four games, but are wallowing in seventh in the Spanish Liga a daunting 10 points in the back of leaders Real Sociedad. Barcelona’s struggling coach Ronald Koeman said the match in Hungary was once an excellent possibility to rest stars and give a run out to lesser lights. “We wouldn’t generally do this, but with the calendar being what it is this year there are just a few opportunities to rest people and the next day to come is one of them,” said the Dutchman.
Goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and Brazilian midfielder Coutinho will also sit down out the match to be fresh for domestic duties.
“Saturday’s match (against Cadiz) is a very powerful one for our progress in the league, and after the next day to come, there will be few opportunities to rest for anyone,” Koeman said.
Messi “is key for our attack, whether the ball reaches him, there is movement, there is numerous quality in his passes,” Koeman said.
“At the beginning of the season, he struggled a bit more and this may not be a 30 goal season.
“But he’s working mannered, he’s still a very important and decisive player in our attack. Leo is a player who all the time wants to play.”
Barcelona’s back up forward Martin Braithwaite could start on Wednesday after scoring three times in his final two matches.
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