Barcelona manager, Ernesto Valverde, has explained that he left Lionel Messi on the bench against Juventus to give him a breather, as Barcelona booked their place in the Champions League knockout rounds on Wednesday.
Messi came on in the second half as Barca were held to a 0-0 draw in Turin.
The decision to name the Argentina captain as a substitute had come as a surprise in the build-up to kickoff, as he had previously started each of Barca’s 16 La Liga and Champions League games this season.
However, Valverde revealed that his plan was to rest the player ahead of Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash against Valencia.
“Messi’s fine. It was a difficult decision. He feels a great deal of responsibility within the club and the team.
“But he has played a lot of games and eventually he had to have a to rest. We thought it would be a tight game and then it would open up. The idea was he could come on in the second half, with the game more open. That was the decision,” Valverde stated.