Lionel Messi will probably play against Villarreal in La Liga this week, because “there’s no suitable scenario for resting” the Argentine superstar, Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said on Monday.
Barcelona are 10 points clear at the top of the Spanish League ahead of Tuesday’s away game, followed by a home tie with second-place Atletico Madrid on Saturday and then Manchester United away in a Champions League quarterfinal next Wednesday.
“We attach great importance to this game,” Valverde said of the Villarreal game before acknowledging that “many people have their sights on the Champions League and also the Atletico game.”
“We’ll see tomorrow about Leo,” Valverde said of his 31-year-old forward who has 31 league goals so far this season.
“The three points tomorrow are worth the same as those against Atletico,” Valverde said.
“It is a perfect match to win,” he said, when asked about rotating his squad. “It does not escape me that our rivals are waiting for a slip to feed their hopes of catching us. We don’t want give it any opportunities.”
“There are nine games, if we win six we are champions,” he added. “But having to win six games does not mean we have the league won, we have a lot of work to do.”
Valverde said he did not think renewed rumours that Antoine Griezmann was going to leave Atletico for Barcelona would not destabilise either club.
“It’s the usual stuff, we’re used to it,” said Valverde.