MX23RW : Wednesday, January 16 23:16:34

Ernesto Valverde explains Lionel Messi absence

Valverde explains Lionel Messi absence
© Reuters
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde 'could not risk' selecting Lionel Messi for Tuesday's Champions League clash with Inter Milan.

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has said that he simply 'could not risk' selecting Lionel Messi for Tuesday's Champions League clash with Inter Milan at San Siro.

Messi travelled with Barcelona to Italy for the European tie, and it had been thought that the Argentine would be included on the bench having returned to training last week.

The 31-year-old suffered a fractured arm less than three weeks ago, however, and Valverde was not prepared to take the risk, despite the attacker being ahead of schedule in his recovery.

"We couldn't risk Messi. Training isn't the same as playing. We talked about it and he understood," Valverde told reporters.

Malcom's first Barcelona goal saw the Spanish champions take a late lead against Inter, but Mauro Icardi netted late on as the points were shared.

The result, however, was still enough for Barcelona to book their spot in the knockout round of the competition with two matches to spare.


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Barcelona captain Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring against Tottenham Hotspur on October 3, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Barcelona19134253203343
2Atletico MadridAtletico19108127131438
3Sevilla1996431201133
4Real Madrid1910362824433
5AlavesAlaves199552219332
6Getafe197752116528
7Real Betis197572223-126
8Real Sociedad197482322125
9GironaGirona195952123-224
10Espanyol197392127-624
11Valencia1941141717023
12Levante196583035-523
13Athletic Bilbao1941052025-522
14EibarEibar195772128-722
15Leganes195771721-422
16Real Valladolid195771721-422
17Celta Vigo195683132-121
18Rayo Vallecano1954102234-1219
19Villarreal193882025-517
20Huesca1925121736-1911

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