Lionel Messi has been left out of Barcelona’s UEFA Champions League squad for their trip to Dynamo Kyiv. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner, who has looked a little off-colour this season, was omitted from the 19-member squad that will travel to Ukraine for their fourth Group G match of the UCL on Tuesday. Messi played full 90 minutes in the 0-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid on Saturday which has left Barcelona 12th in the La Liga 2020-21 points table and 12 points behind leaders Real Sociedad. Messi though wasn’t the only one not picked for the UCL clash with midfielder Frenkie de Jong also left out. Messi vs Barcelona AGAIN! From Speaking About Being a Problem at Barcelona to Lashing Out at Eric Abidal, Few Instances When Lionel Messi Publicly Vented Anger.
The pair played each of Barcelona’s first three Champions League Group stage matches and have also made regular appearances in the La Liga. Coach Roland Koeman played down any differences or issue with the pair and quoted ‘needed rest’ as the reason behind the omission. "They need to take some rest and after the good performances in UCL. It is a good time for them to rest," Koeman said at the pre-match press conference. Fans Demand Lionel Messi To Leave Barcelona After Catalan Giants' Defeat Against Atletico Madrid by 1-0 in La Liga 2020-21
Barcelona Announce Squad for Dynamo Kyiv UCL Match
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 23, 2020
Messi has scored six goals in 11 matches this season for Barcelona but five of those have come from the penalty spot leading to question marks over his form in the attacking third. The 33-year-old Argentine has looked off-colour and questions have also been raised over his commitment to the club especially after attempting to force a move out of the club in the summer.
Koeman, however, refused to be drawn on speculations over Messi’s future and reiterated the Barcelona captain was only not picked in the squad to afford him some rest ahead of the next league game. Barcelona, meanwhile, are comfortably placed at the top of Group G and are three points clear of second-placed Juventus after three rounds. A win over Dynamo Kyiv will confirm to their participation in the knockouts stages.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 23, 2020 06:33 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).