Barcelona boss Quique Setien has admitted he will have to rest his headline performer Lionel Messi at some point this season
Messi has often proved to be decisive for Barcelona this season even when he doesn’t score, like was the case in their recent La Liga fixtures.
Although he failed to find the back of the net in Barca’s tight 3-2 victory over Betis last time out, the Argentinean provided three assists to take his assist hat-trick tally to four.
The Catalans now welcome third-placed Getafe to the Camp Nou on Saturday lunchtime obliged to pick up three points to keep in touch with Real Madrid, who remain three points clear at the summit.
In the build-up to the encounter, Setien was asked to provide an update on Messi’s physical condition and whether he will need to take some rest in the remainder of the season.
“Messi, like a lot of other players, knows what he can do and what he can’t do. If he’s on the pitch, it’s because he’s able to be. He’s OK. There’s no problem,” the 61-year-old manager said, as described by the Bleacher Report.
Quique Setién: "Resting Messi? He has the experience to know what he can and can't do. If he's on the pitch, it's because he can. I have not been here long enough to know if his minutes really need managing. These players have spent many years playing Wednesday-Sunday." pic.twitter.com/6dYmp0SQdI— infosfcb (@infosfcb) February 15, 2020
“Like any other players, there will be a time when we have to rest him. I haven’t spent so much time here to be able to evaluate this.
“These players are so used to playing Sunday to Wednesday for many years that in some cases it is not necessary for them to rest, but we will have a look as it goes on.”
Messi has been by far the most productive player in Spain’s top division so far this season, managing more goals (14) and assists (11) than any other player.
With Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele both sidelined for the long-term injuries, the 32-year-old will be tasked to continue shouldering the burden along with Antoine Griezmann.
Also, with very few reliable attacking options left at Setien’s disposal, the Spaniard will have to time Messi’s spell out of action perfectly to keep his side in the race for the league and UEFA Champions League titles.
After being shockingly bowed out of the Copa del Rey by Athletic Bilbao, the reigning Spanish champions can now entirely focus on winning the domestic title and lifting the Champions League crown for the first time since the MSN era.