Messi couldn’t be risked by Barcelona, Says Valverde
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde affirms his side “couldn’t danger Lionel Messi” against Inter despite seeing him come back to training ahead of a Champions League clash with Inter.
The mercurial Argentine suffered a broken arm throughout a La Liga conference with Sevilla in mid-October.
He was anticipated to be sidelined for at minimum three weeks, keeping him out of crucial home-based and European fixtures.
Messi missed a 5-1 Clasico mauling of Real Madrid, narrow league and cup victories over Rayo Vallecano and Cultural Leonesa and had not been expected to be involved in a trip to Milan.
He did put himself in contention by coming back to the Barca flip and joining the traveling party heading to Italy, but Valverde told reporters of the decision to leave him in the stands: “We couldn’t risk Messi. Training isn’t the same as playing. We all talked about it and he understood. ”
Barca struggled for the attacking of curiosity in the absence of their talismanic skipper, with Malcom grabbing his first goal for the club in what turned out to be a 1-1 draw on them.
That result has already been enough to book a last-16 berth, but Valverde admits there is still work to be done.
He said: “We’ll have to secure first place within the next two games.
“That was our first goal, but we go home happy. Malcom had great success and we’re very happy for him, of course.
“There was obviously a moment in the first half when it seemed like the game could become end-to-end and possibly experience.
“We have to read everything very well. We’re a team who play close together and discover space.
“Problems can always sparkle up, but we played well and it was a game that got everything.
“The objective is always to pick upwards 3 points. We always want the ball and have control over the game. ”
It has already been suggested that clashes such as that could become more commonplace in the foreseeable future, but Valverde was reluctant to be drawn on conjecture suggesting that a European Super League could be created at some period.
He said: “I’m not aware of any plans for European Super League, but the Champions League is a Super League.
“You could see it here. It was a great spectacle, like those that we played at Wembley or Camp Nou. ”