By Brian Bariyo Tumuramye
Barcelona have left Lionel Messi out of their travelling squad to face Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.
The Blaugrana announced the squad on Monday:
The Catalan giants have already secured top spot in Group F. Barca sit on 11 points, four clear of Inter and Borussia Dortmund.
Messi has helped his side remain unbeaten in their five Champions League matches thus far, having contributed two goals and three assists.
While Ernesto Valverde has opted to include the likes of Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann, the Argentinian will be rested for the trip to the San Siro to keep him fresh for Barcelona’s away clash with Real Sociedad in La Liga next Saturday.
Last Saturday, Messi bagged a sensational hat-trick as Barca thrashed Real Mallorca 5-2: and Barcelona will face Real Madrid after their clash with Sociedad before finishing the year off at home to Alaves before the winter break.
The Catalan side are level on points with Madrid in La Liga, and with knockout football secured in the Champions League, it makes sense for them to prioritise their domestic duties.
Messi has 14 goals and eight assists for Barca in all competitions this season, and they’ll hope by keeping him fresh this week he’ll be able to make the difference in those final three matches of 2019.