Barcelona captain and talisman Lionel Messi has been left off the club’s traveling squad for the Champions League fixture against Dynamo Kyiv.
The Blaugrana currently sit top of the standings in Group G and boast a 100% record from their three matches so far.
They will travel to Ukraine to take on Dynamo Kyiv but will be without their record goalscorer, as well as midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who were both left off the squad by Ronald Koeman.
Barcelona picked up a narrow 2-1 victory against the Ukrainians on Matchday 3, and a victory here would guarantee them a place in the Round of 16.
The Catalan giants have, however, been in poor form domestically and currently sit in 12th spot on the LaLiga table, 12 points behind table-toppers Real Sociedad, albeit with a game in hand.
Barcelona have picked up just three victories from their opening eight league games, marking their worst start to a campaign in almost three decades.
Lionel Messi himself has been uncharacteristically below par and is performing at levels which we are not accustomed to.
The 33-year-old currently has just three goals from eight LaLiga games but rather disappointingly, only one of those has come from open play.
Lionel Messi had threatened to leave Barcelona last summer but backtracked on his decision. It is, however, a foregone conclusion that he would depart the club at the end of the season.
His exclusion raised questions in the media but Koeman went to great lengths to explain that everything was in order, telling reporters:
‘They need to take some rest and, after the good performances in the Champions League, it is a good time for them to rest.”
The Dutch manager will be hoping that his decision does not backfire as the Ukrainians proved to be a handful at Camp Nou three weeks ago.
Barcelona returned from the international break with a disappointing performance against Atletico Madrid, with Diego Simeone picking up his first league win against the Catalans.
Beyond the disastrous result, the Blaugrana also lost Gerard Pique to what appears to be a long-term injury, and things have been going from bad to worse for the club.
Barcelona fans would be hoping that Lionel Messi would use the extra rest afforded him to get back to his best form, as the club needs him firing on all cylinders if they are to reclaim their pride of place back at the summit of both the domestic and continental game.
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