Now that FC Barcelona has announced Lionel Messi won’t start El Clasico, assistant manager Jon Aspiazu explained the final decision.
With El Clasico about to start at Camp Nou, we just received the news that manager Ernesto Valverde decided to leave Lionel Messi on the bench and give Malcom a chance to shine against Real Madrid.
The Spanish manager specifically stated last Tuesday that they wouldn’t play with Messi if they didn’t consider he was at 100% of his capabilities, which means that he wasn’t up for this Wednesday’s El Clasico and why the boss chose Brazilian Malcom to replace the Argentine in the Copa del Rey semifinals.
But FC Barcelona seems determined to sell a very specific narrative to the fans, one that doesn’t alarm them because they are currently in a very complicated moment of the season.
Saying that Messi isn’t at 100% would get everybody nervous because the captain is the biggest hope that FC Barcelona has to win any trophies this season, the decision was made and we are going to have Malcom replacing the Argentine but everybody was asking the same question about Lionel.
Is he really okay or is the club deceiving the media about his fitness?
💪 Let’s. Do. This. pic.twitter.com/ESeH497DoS
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 6, 2019
Just moments before the match when both starting XI’s were announced by Real Madrid and Barcelona, Diario AS was able to pick up a statement from assistant manager Jon Aspiazu about Ernesto Valverde’s decision to leave Lionel Messi out of the initial squad to face Real Madrid.
The coach kept to himself with most of his responses, but he did follow the same protocol that is being requested from all members of the technical staff in case they gets asked a difficult question.
Nobody wants to alarm the people, especially when it comes to Messi.
“We really didn’t want to have any risks with Messi but he is completely fit to play tonight,” said Aspiazu.
“We will see if he gets to play a few minutes during the second half. All I can tell you is that he is at 100% of his capacity.”
“He just came from suffering a blow that generated discomfort and we prefer if he can stay on the bench today.”
“Malcom must help us when we are looking to attack deep, keep the ball possession, he has to protect his wing, and he must do what he came here to do.”
“We are always expecting Real Madrid’s most competitive version. They have great players and they can get us in trouble at any given moment.”
“They will come with an urge to beat us on the pitch because they are currently on a good run, result-wise.”
🚨 #11FCB ¡NO JUEGA MESSI!
— Mundo Deportivo (@mundodeportivo) February 6, 2019
Aspiazu isn’t joking, Santiago Solari’s Real Madrid may have started the season on the wrong foot when Julen Lopetegui was still the club’s manager but they soon found a good dynamic and today we are looking at a vastly different squad.
The Argentine manager has been able to awaken all the players who started the season with practically no willingness to fight for titles, they have now changed their tune completely and actually have a chance at winning today’s match against FC Barcelona.
Lionel Messi might not be as comfortable on the bench knowing how dangerous this Real Madrid squad has gotten during the start of 2019, he will be eager to play during the second half because things won’t be as easy as maybe some people are expecting for Barcelona.
Malcom will also have to prove his worth, this is a complicated test for him but a perfect opportunity to let us all know if he was really made to play for the Catalan club or he is a total flop.
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) February 6, 2019
Who will win El Clasico between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona today? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.