Not to play
Lionel Messi has asked Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde to leave him out of the upcoming Copa del Rey games – as he thinks it’s the perfect chance to have a break before some huge La Liga games for the club.
Messi has been back to his brilliant best this season, and it seems he thinks that the games against Real Murcia are ones his side can win without him – and wants to recharge his batteries ahead of the run up to Christmas, where Barcelona will face crunch games in Europe and La Liga.
The request, as reported by the Express, is not unusual, and there are several top players who get rested when their sides play the so called lesser teams in the cup competitions.
In terms of Messi’s performances this season, his manager is clear where he stands – Messi is the best, and he’s breaking records over and over again – that many thought would never be reached.
ESPN report Valverde said: “I hope he reaches 200 goals this season!
“His numbers validate what we see every day, he’s beating statistics that seemed impossible. He’s been doing it for a long time now, constantly breaking down barriers.”
“I don’t know if he took a glucose tablet.
“If it made him score a goal, then he should take a load of them… But I do know the players do take glucose.
“I don’t know if the fans are enamoured with me just yet.
“It’s true the results are good. We are top of La Liga, top of our Champions League group… But tomorrow’s another day, Saturday’s another game. The dynamic can change, football’s fanciful like that.
“In August, after the Super Cup [defeat to Real Madrid], we were no good, now we are… So we are going to cross our fingers and keep working hard.
“We are happy today because it’s not easy to win in the Champions League. There are no easy games, as we are seeing with other teams.
“Olympiakos came to defend close to their area and to surprise us on the counter-attack. We then had the set back of the red card and we couldn’t keep so high up the pitch. When that happens, the rhythm changes.
“But we are satisfied because we were able to open up the game in the second half despite having a man less.”