MX23RW : Monday, December 17 01:09:55
Sep 29, 2018 at 3.15pm UK at ​Camp Nou
Attendance: 78,015
Barcelona
1-1
Athletic Bilbao
FT(HT: 0-1)
de Marcos (41')

Ernesto Valverde: 'I was right to rest Lionel Messi'

Valverde: 'I was right to rest Messi'
© Reuters
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde backs his decision to rest Lionel Messi on Saturday, despite the Catalan club drawing 1-1 with Athletic Bilbao.

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has backed his decision to rest Lionel Messi on Saturday, despite the Catalan club drawing 1-1 with Athletic Bilbao.

Messi was substituted on after 55 minutes and had a hand in Barca's late equaliser after his shot was turned in by Munir El Haddadi, but the hosts men could not find a winner after recovering from Oscar De Marcos's earlier strike.

Valverde admitted to reporters at his post-match press conference that while resting Messi was his "responsibility", he did so with one eye on the Champions League next week.

"Leaving Messi on the bench is absolutely my responsibility," the manager said. "He has four games in 10 days and I think it's good for Leo to rest, like [Sergio] Busquets, thinking of the Champions League.

"I know it was the right decision. It was a risk and on this occasion, it didn't come off."

Barcelona face Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on Wednesday evening.


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Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams in action during a La Liga match in April 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Barcelona16104246192734
2Sevilla1694329161331
3Atletico MadridAtletico1687124121231
4Real Madrid168352319427
5Real Betis167451918125
6Getafe166641712524
7AlavesAlaves157351817124
8Levante166462730-322
9GironaGirona165651719-221
10Celta Vigo165652824421
11Espanyol166371823-521
12Real Valladolid165561518-320
13EibarEibar165562024-420
14Valencia1631031313019
15Real Sociedad165471819-119
16Leganes164661519-418
17Villarreal163671721-415
18Athletic Bilbao152851523-814
19Rayo Vallecano162591530-1511
20Huesca1615101432-188

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