Barcelona Boss Koeman Explains Why He Hasn’t Rested Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi


Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has explained why he has not rested captain Lionel Messi at all yet this season.

The 33-year-old has played every single minute of the season so far for club and country, featuring in nine games for Barca and two World Cup qualifiers with Argentina since the season started on September 27.

Koeman was asked why Messi’s not been given a breather so far in his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s La Liga clash with Real Betis at the Camp Nou.

First of all every day we receive information about the physical condition of every player. If there is one player who is not 100% to play then he won’t play. Even if Messi is not 100% he won’t start, unless maybe it’s a final.

We know the program at the moment for players is complicated, every 2-3 days to play, but the question is always about the physical state of the players. If they are 100%, then in my opinion it’s not necessary to give them a rest.

Messi is expected to start again on Saturday before heading off to link up with the Argentina squad for World Cup qualifiers against Peru and Paraguay.

Follow the Heavy on Barcelona Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!

Koeman Joins Messi Walking Debate

Koeman was also asked for his thoughts on recent criticism of Messi. The captain was pictured walking and not pressing a Dynamo Kiev player during the final seconds of Barca’s Champions League win in midweek.

The Dutch coach made it clear he wasn’t too interested or impressed by the debate that the short clip of Messi has provoked.

I don’t really know because it was the 93rd minute. There are lot of images taken … they also show me sitting down or annoyed. I think right now we need to be less aware of the footage. You can take an image of any person and make them look bad

You can take a picture of any player while walking. I have neither seen nor am I interested, his attitude is very good. If you want to create controversy, that is up to you, but I don’t agree.

Messi was on target in the match, scoring his fourth penalty of the season for Barcelona. The captain is still without a goal from open play in 2020-21.

Koeman Admits Atletico Problem

Messi will be one of several players who head off on international duty after the Betis game. Players such as Frenkie de Jong, Ansu Fati, Sergio Busquets, Antoine Griezmann, and Sergino Dest have all been called up by their national teams for international fixtures.

Koeman admitted that having such a host of players away from the club over the next two weeks is a problem, particularly with Barca’s first game back being a trip to the Wanda Metropolitano to take on Atletico Madrid.

We prefer to have the players here, it’s a moment where they can train more and we can work on tactical things to improve. I think we all know this calendar is very tight so we know what’s coming. We have Atletico away on Saturday next, and everyone’s back on Thursday. This is a problem for big teams. There’s not a lot of time to prepare for the matches. We hope everyone returns without any problem.

The Barca boss must first focus on the challenge of Betis, and the chance to pick up all three points and get his team’s league form back on track after a difficult run of results in La Liga.

READ NEXT: Barcelona Name Squad for La Liga Clash With Real Betis