Champions League

Valverde considers resting Messi ahead of United return

2019-04-12 18:51
Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi (AP)

Barcelona - Lionel Messi could be among a number of players rested by Barcelona on Saturday as Ernesto Valverde keeps one eye on their Champions League second leg against Manchester United. 

Valverde said on Friday that Messi may be spared the trip to Huesca, who sit bottom of La Liga, after a collision with United's Chris Smalling on Wednesday left the Argentinian with a bruised nose and cheek. 

"It's possible," said Valverde, when asked about the chance of Messi sitting out this weekend. 

"He's fine but it was a big hit. He was affected the day after and during the match, it was like being hit by a truck. We will analyse him later but it is a possibility." 

Luke Shaw's own-goal meant Barca took a 1-0 victory away from Old Trafford and they can afford to rotate ahead of the return, given they sit 11 points clear at the top of La Liga. 

Kevin Prince-Boateng and Jeison Murillo, who have hardly featured since joining in January, could be given rare outings while Ousmane Dembele is likely to make his first appearance in a month after recovering from a hamstring injury. 

"There will be changes tomorrow because the calendar is very congested," Valverde said. 

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

If Dembele comes through the game against Huesca unscathed, the Frenchman could be in line to start against United at Camp Nou. 

"Tomorrow's game is important for Dembele but not because of United, because of tomorrow," Valverde said. 

"We must make an effort to focus on the three points because we need them.

"We can't forget that we need ten points to be champions, no matter how much we think that we might be there already. 

"We are not far away. We have to win three games and draw another and that has to start tomorrow."


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk
Breaking News

Tuesday, 30 April 2019
Tottenham Hotspur v Ajax, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 21:00
Wednesday, 01 May 2019
Barcelona v Liverpool, Camp Nou 21:00
Tuesday, 07 May 2019
Liverpool v Barcelona, Anfield 21:00
Wednesday, 08 May 2019
Ajax v Tottenham Hotspur, Johan Cruijff ArenA 21:00
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will emerge victorious in this season's Champions League?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.