Messi, Coutinho, Ter Stegen rested by Barcelona in Champions League
Ronald Koeman has made a decision to shuffle his pack for a meeting with Ferencvaros, with three senior Barcelona stars asked not to make the trip to Hungary.
Argentinian Football legend Lionel Messi will sit out a second successive Champions League match for Barcelona, with Ronald Koeman choosing to leave the mercurial Argentine out of his plans for a meeting with Ferencvaros.
Messi, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, played no part whatsoever in the Blaugrana’s 4-0 victory over Dynamo Kiev on November 24.
This decision was made to hand the 33-year-old star a well-earned rest as great progress was already being made through continental competition.
Barca had no real need for Lionel Messi’s magic against the Ukrainian team and will be hoping to see history repeat itself once again on Wednesday.
Koeman’s side will be heading for Budapest one day prior to facing the Hungarian rival on a European stage.
They have thus far enjoyed a faultless run through their Group G campaign, with maximum points earned from the four fixtures to date.
A place in the last-16 has already been secured, which means that Koeman finds himself in the enviable position of being able to freely shuffle his pack through two more battles.
Argentinian star Messi will be rested once again for the first of those, with the intention being to keep him freshand ready for bigger challenges to come.
Koeman has remarked: "Considering this season’s schedule, there are only two moments where Messi can rest, in Kyiv, and tomorrow. From tomorrow, there will be no more opportunities. Qualifying already also influences the decision."
Rotation within Barca’s ranks can also mean that Marc-Andre ter Stegen will be given a much-deserved break between the sticks.
Philippe Coutinho is yet another senior star set to stay in Catalunya as his team-mates go in search of yet another morale-boosting victory.
Frenkie de Jong was allowed a Champions League week off alongside Messi against Dynamo Kiev, yet unlike Messi he does form part of the travelling party.
Similarly, Clement Lenglet is in Koeman’s squad in spite of nursing a slight knock.
This talented French defender picked up an ankle complaint against Osasuna during the weekend to cast serious doubt over his possible involvement against Ferencvaros.