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Champions League: Koeman Decides to Rest Messi and De Jong as the Club is in a “Comfortable Situation”

By webmanager, Sportstar.The Hindu 24th Nov 20 8:36 am

Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong and Lionel Messi interact during a Champions League match against Juventus on October 28 in Turin. - GETTY IMAGES

 

This season the Champions League has been a haven for Barcelona, and for this, the club has decided to leave Lionel Messi at home for Tuesday’s match in Ukraine.

Ronald Koeman, Barcelona coach is resting both Messi and midfielder Frenkie de Jong for the game against Dynamo Kyiv, when the Catalan club can secure a spot in the knockout stage for the 17th straight season.

Koeman said Monday, “Neither Leo nor Frenkie are traveling”. “They need some rest. With nine points in our group, we are in a comfortable situation and we have to keep them fresh.”

“In Leo’s case you also have trips to South America (to play with Argentina),” Koeman further added. “We have to protect our players. It’s impossible for them to play every match and always be at their best. Everyone knows that, but we have to keep playing several matches. FIFA and UEFA should take action because it’s impossible to be playing all these matches.”

Barcelona is coming off a loss to Atletico Madrid, which left the team in 13th place in the Spanish league after eight matches.

“We can’t be happy with our results, but we need to stay motivated,” Koeman said. “We have another match tomorrow (Tuesday) and we are one step away from advancing, so we have to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Since 2007-08, Barcelona has won its Champions League group every time. Moreover, it hasn’t lost a group match since the 2016-17 season.

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