Barcelona coach Koeman explains 'resting' Messi for Dynamo Kiev trip

Ruben Hill
November 25, 2020

Koeman has opted to leave his star man in Barcelona as the team travel to Ukraine for their fourth Champions League group game of the campaign.

Koeman has made a decision to rest Frenkie de Jong and Lionel Messi for the weekend game after they both played 90 minutes on Sunday following their return from global duty - where they were both heavily involved in action for their respective countries.

The result left Europa League holder Sevilla second in the group on 10 points from four games, behind leader Chelsea on goal difference and nine ahead of Krasnodar and Stade Rennais.

"We thought it was a good moment to rest Leo and Frenkie as most of our players have played every minute with us and then they played with the national teams and Messi had a hard trip back from South America (after playing for Argentina)".

Midfielder De Jong, who is 10 years Messi's junior, has also played every match for the Catalan giants as well as five global fixtures for the Netherlands in the same period. Interestingly, it was first time two Americans had played side-by-side in a Champions League game since Tim Howard and Jonathan Spector did so for Manchester United in December 2004. "Both have played nearly every minute and come from playing with their national teams", Koeman added.

"Sometimes you need to protect the players because the game calendar is incredible", Koeman said.

Antoine Griezmann and promising teen Pedri are expected to lead the attack while Clement Lenglet will lead the defense in the absence of both Pique, who picked up a knee injury on Saturday, and Samuel Umtiti.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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