Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has explained withdrawing Lionel Messi from their clash with Champions League opponents Dynamo Kiev.
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.
“We have decided not to bring Leo or De Jong because the situation in the Champions League is good and they can rest,” he said at the pre-match press conference.
“They have played many games. We talk too much about [Messi]. He has always had a lot of influence on the club’s success and he can still continue to do so. We believe it is a good time for Leo and Frenkie to rest. They have played every game and almost every minute, they have had to travel [a lot].
“Sometimes you have to protect the players because the calendar is incredible. It is impossible to keep the players in shape, look at Sergi Roberto. If he is injured it is because of the large number of games he has played.
“Or Ansu Fati. Everyone knows it, but we have to keep playing. It’s incredible. It’s time for everyone to think about this, FIFA, UEFA…”