MX23RW : Wednesday, November 21 16:49:06

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
1Barcelona1273234181624
2Sevilla1272324141023
3Atletico MadridAtletico12651168823
4AlavesAlaves127231712523
5Espanyol126331610621
6Real Madrid126242016420
7Real Valladolid1245399017
8Levante125251819-117
9GironaGirona124531314-117
10Real Sociedad124441514116
11Getafe124441110116
12Real Betis124441215-316
13EibarEibar124351218-615
14Celta Vigo123542220214
15Valencia1228289-114
16Villarreal122551113-211
17Athletic Bilbao121741319-610
18Leganes12246916-710
19Rayo Vallecano121471425-117
20Huesca121381025-156

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