No point resting Lionel Messi, says Barcelona boss Valverde

Lionel Messi is having yet another season to remember. (AFP)
Updated 02 April 2019
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No point resting Lionel Messi, says Barcelona boss Valverde

  • Barca face Villarreal on Tuesday and Atletico Madrid on Saturday ahead of Champions League clash against Manchester United.
  • But despite 10-point lead in La Liga Barca boss insists Argentine ace will play both league matches.

BARCELONA: Lionel Messi will probably play against Villarreal in La Liga this week, because “there’s no suitable scenario for resting” the Argentine superstar, Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said on Monday.

Barcelona are 10 points clear at the top of the Spanish League ahead of Tuesday’s away game, followed by a home tie with second-place Atletico Madrid on Saturday and then Manchester United away in a Champions League quarterfinal next Wednesday.

“We attach great importance to this game,” Valverde said of the Villarreal game before acknowledging that “many people have their sights on the Champions League and also the Atletico game.”

“We’ll see tomorrow about Leo,” Valverde said of his 31-year-old forward who has 31 league goals so far this season.

“The three points tomorrow are worth the same as those against Atletico,” Valverde said.

“It is a perfect match to win,” he said, when asked about rotating his squad. “It does not escape me that our rivals are waiting for a slip to feed their hopes of catching us. We don’t want give it any opportunities.”

“There are nine games, if we win six we are champions,” he added. “But having to win six games does not mean we have the league won, we have a lot of work to do.”

Valverde said he did not think renewed rumors that Antoine Griezmann was going to leave Atletico for Barcelona would not destabilize either club.

“It’s the usual stuff, we’re used to it,” said Valverde.


Chelsea moves into top 4 after draw with Burnley

Updated 23 April 2019
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Chelsea moves into top 4 after draw with Burnley

  • Chelsea moves into the final Champions League qualifying spot

LONDON: Chelsea moved into the Premier League’s top four on Monday with a frustrating 2-2 draw with Burnley.
Goals two minutes apart from N’Golo Kante and Gonzalo Higuain put Chelsea on top at Stamford Bridge after Jeff Hendrick had given Burnley an early lead.
But Ashley Barnes pulled the visitors even in the 24th minute and Chelsea was unable to get the winner despite dominating possession and finishing with 22 shots.
Chelsea moves into the final Champions League qualifying spot, one point above Arsenal and three ahead of Manchester United, but has played one game more.
Burnley, meanwhile, all but guaranteed its Premier League status for another season.
The Clarets are nine points above Cardiff in the final relegation place with three games left and have a far superior goal difference.