- With less than two months to the start of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Barcelona coach, Ernesto Valverde wants to rest Messi for most of his side's remaining matches
- The 30-year-old has been superb for the team - helping him to stretch their unbeaten run this season to 32 games
- Messi helped Argentina qualify for the World Cup on the last qualifying day after scoring a hatrick against Ecuador late last year
- And Barca coach is hoping to have him sit on the bench for most part of the remainder of the season to be refreshed for the competition in Russia this year
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde is reportedly planning to rest Lionel Messi for most of his games in the ongoing season.
The 30-year-old has been spectacular for the Catalans all season long with 29 league goals in 31 appearances so far this season.
However, with the 2018 FIFA World Cup less than 60 days from kickoff, while Barca are few games away from being crowned La Liga champions, the manager is hoping the Argentine superstar can relax a little to get refreshed before this summer event in Russia.
Meanwhile, former Barcelona captain, Xavi, admits with the coach’s decision on Messi, saying it is good for the five-time ballon d’Or winner needs to get some game off at the club to have a fantastic World Cup tournament.
"It's a possibility that Messi rests, like others," he said, per Xavi Hernandez of Marca.
"There's nothing to worry about, the other day he played a good game, and they're calm in Argentina because Messi still has a lot of energy left for the World Cup."
As quoted by Bleacher Report, Messi has been nursing a minor injury despite featuring in some of his side’s games against Sevilla, Leganes and Roma.
Xavi also claimed that Barcelona will be without a number of their key players for Tuesday’s meeting against Celta Vigo in La Liga.
According to report from the same publication, Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets are injured, while Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique will be rested.
The Blaugrana head to Balaidos seeking to continue their impeccable campaign in the Spanish top flight, having gone through 32 games unbeaten so far.
Messi’s form has been so important to that remarkable run of his club and are set to win their 25th La Liga title this season.
Having lost Neymar to PSG in a world record transfer fee last summer, Messi was expected to shoulder more responsibility at the club. So much goes through Messi in Barca's attacking mechanisms.
The Argentine superstar has scored 29 goals and provided 12 assists in 31 appearances in the top flight, as he becomes the only player to have scored six free kicks outside the 18-yard box – after Ronaldinho in the 2006-07 season.
“Lionel Messi is the first player to score six direct free-kick goals in a single La Liga season since Ronaldinho in 2006/07 (6)
“He is the first player to score from outside the box in six consecutive Liga games since at least 2003/04 (six goals)”
Barcelona were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League in shock circumstances at the hands of Roma in the quarter-final. But Valverde may yet earn a double in his first season.
Barca will be desperate to go through the rest of the La Liga season unbeaten, but there are still some difficult fixtures for them to negotiate, starting with Tuesday's match in Galicia against a dangerous Celta side. They also still have Real Madrid to meet on May 6.
Messi and co also have the chance to win the Copa del Rey and will face Sevilla in the final of the competition on Saturday.
The Argentine has spent 14 years at the Camp Nou since he made his debut in 2004, and he has scored 378 goals in 413 matches for the Catalans.
He has four Champions League and eight Spanish League titles to his credit so far, with many other domestic league titles.
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