Koeman provides explanation for Lionel Messi’s absence from Barcelona squad to face Ferencvaros

Koeman provides explanation for Lionel Messi’s absence from Barcelona squad to face Ferencvaros

Ferencvaros vs Barcelona

Barcelona will return to Champions League action in just over 24 hours time.

The Blaugrana face a trip to Hungarian outfit Ferencvaros for their penultimate group game of the season.

Barca head into the tie in fine form, in Europe at least, having won their previous four outings.

This sees the Catalans sitting pretty atop Group G, with qualification to the knockout rounds already in the bag.

And should Barcelona see off Ferencvaros, which does seem quite likely, they will secure top spot in the group, with Juventus set to finish second.

Koeman provides explanation for Lionel Messi’s absence from Barcelona squad to face Ferencvaros

BARCELONA, SPAIN – NOVEMBER 29: Lionel Messi of Barcelona celebrates after scoring their sides fourth goal while wearing a Newell’s Old Boys shirt with the number 10 on the back in memory of former footballer, Diego Maradona, who recently passed away during the La Liga Santander match between FC Barcelona and C.A. Osasuna at Camp Nou on November 29, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. Sporting stadiums around Spain remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Lionel Messi misses out

Ahead of tomorrow’s clash, Barcelona released their matchday squad on Tuesday.

And there were a handful of notable omissions,  including the injured Gerard Pique and Ansu Fati.

The most high-profile absence, though, came in the form of Lionel Messi:

Given their rotten luck on the injury front of late, Barca’s fans no doubt feared the worse upon word emerging that their star man is set to play no part on Wednesday.

However, Ronald Koeman, speaking in his pre-match press conference today, since provided an explanation for Messi’s absence, confirming that he is simply resting the Argentine, amid a hectic fixture list:

“Of course, he is a player who likes to play always and that’s a good mentality, you need that mentality by every play of the squad.

“But by every decision I speak to the player, I talked to the player, I ask him I think about the final decision and the final decision is always by the coach and what I said before, it’s only two moments of giving him a rest, it was the day of Dinamo Kyiv, it’s for this week also about our comfortable situation in the Champions League.

“And the rest of the season, he cannot rest anymore because then we play every three days and in the league and then in March when we will start we have the Super Cup, we have the Cup and only two moments in the season [can he rest] and it that is today and it was last week.”

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This article was edited by Conor Laird.