Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has been discussing whether he’ll rest Lionel Messi for Saturday’s La Liga clash with Getafe at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez.
The 33-year-old has been on international duty with Argentina and played in World Cup qualifying wins over Ecuador and Bolivia. The game in La Paz was played at altitude on Tuesday giving Messi little time to rest.
Koeman offered his thoughts in his pre-match press conference and admitted he would wait to see how his captain was looking in the team’s final training session on Friday afternoon.
“We want to field our best available players. We know that after the international break there is always some fatigue to take into account especially with the big teams because they have to sacrifice players who play internationally.
“Messi has come back with a lot of excitement, very motivated, we saw it in training. We’ll see in the final training session if he’s fit or not to play tomorrow.”
Messi has played every single minute of Barcelona’s La Liga campaign so far, scoring in the 4-0 win over Villarreal. He was also on target while on Argentina duty, netting the winner from the penalty spot against Ecuador.
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Koeman Confident Messi Can Handle Busy Schedule
Koeman also sounded confident that Messi can cope with Barcelona’s hectic fixture list in October. The Catalan giants play Getafe on Saturday and then face Ferencvaros in the Champions League three days later.
Barca then face two huge games against fierce rivals Real Madrid at the Camp Nou and Juventus in Turin, and Koeman was asked if Messi could play in all four of the matches.
“Yes i think so. It will always depend on the players and the others who have been away. I have to see how they feel, if they are tired and then we’ll see who to play tomorrow.
“They’ve played many years on a tight schedule. I think Leo is one of the players who if he doesn’t play is more tired. He’s a typical winner who wants to play every match. If there’s a medical reason then that’s different, but he is capable of playing the important games that lie ahead.”
Koeman certainly doesn’t lack for options if he does decide Messi needs a breather at any point in the next three weeks. Francisco Trincao and Pedri are both pushing for a first start, while Ousmane Dembele could also feature out wide.
The Barcelona attack has looked in good shape in the first three games. Ansu Fati has played a starring role with three goals in three matches, while Philippe Coutinho has looked back to his best.
Antoine Griezmann has found it tough going in a Barcelona shirt, but he was on target for France against Croatia on Wednesday which should provide the Frenchman with a much-needed confidence boost.