Lionel Messi

Barcelona fans take aim at Valverde after Ronaldo substitution vs Atletico Madrid

Fans of Barcelona have this evening taken to social media to take aim at manager Ernesto Valverde over his use of Lionel Messi, after Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo was substituted with half an hour to go versus Atletico Madrid.

Matchup

The Madrid derby took place at Real’s Bernabeu this evening, with the hosts having come into proceedings hoping to close the gap on their inner-city rivals in the La Liga table.

Ahead of kick-off, Atletico (2nd) sat 4 points clear of Real (3rd) in the Spanish top-flight, with both clubs trailing behind runaway Liga leaders Barcelona.

Teams

1-1

An entertaining affair in the Spanish capital this evening saw hosts Real control the majority of possession and create most of the clear-cut chances, but the two sides share the spoils after 90 minutes.

Cristiano Ronaldo handed the home side the lead ten minutes after the interval with a volley from a pinpoint Gareth Bale cross, but Los Blancos’ advantage lasted just 4 minutes, as Antoine Griezmann levelled things up after the ball fell kindly to him in the Real box just before the hour mark.

Rest required

While the majority of the talk online understandably surrounded the action on the pitch and the battle between Ronaldo and Griezmann, the decision of Real boss Zinedine Zidane to take Ronaldo off with half an hour remaining in the clash has since led to an interesting debate regarding Lionel Messi.

Messi, who of course led Barcelona to 3 points with a hat-trick versus Leganes last night, has been handed very little rest by manager Ernesto Valverde to this point in the campaign, a fact which large sections of Blaugrana fans have called into question of late, especially after the Argentine’s recent injury.

And Zidane’s hauling off of his side’s star man with one eye on Los Merengues’ upcoming European ventures has since seen Valverde’s treatment of Messi come to the fore amongst Barca’s fans once again, as showcased below:

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