Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has removed doubts about Lionel Messi’s physical condition following a 2-1 home win over Villarreal
The Argentinean wizard has registered his first La Liga start this season having return to action after a nasty calf injury that kept him on the sidelines for almost four months.
However, although he started the game, the 31-year-old ended up on the ground after 30 minutes of the match, forcing the medical staff to react.
Ernesto Valverde decided to introduce Ousmane Dembele in favor of Messi at the beginning of the second half, raising doubts about the forward’s fitness.
The Spaniard has explained in the post-match interview that Messi’s substitution had nothing to do with his previous physical problems, insisting it was ‘a precaution.’
“When something happens to Messi, the world stops,” Valverde said after the game.
“But it doesn’t seem to be anything more than discomfort in his adductor, and we made the change as a precaution.”
The four-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner assisted Antoine Griezmann in the sixth minute for the Catalans’ opening goal before Arthur nodded home a perfectly placed shot nine minutes later.
Although Santi Cazorla pulled one back for the visitors just before the break, a 2-1 halftime scoreline remained intact until the final whistle.
The reigning La Liga holders have now won all three of their league home matches this term, but Valverde will have to figure out how to make his team start winning on the road.
After picking up just one point in their opening three La Liga trips, Barcelona will head to Getafe next weekend chasing their elusive first away triumph this season.