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Barcelona boss ready to unleash rested Messi & make squad rotations

Barcelona Training and Press Conference
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Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde is happy to have a fully-rested Lionel Messi back ahead of Saturday’s game against Real Sociedad

The forward decided against travelling with the rest of Argentina squad for their friendly games against Guatemala and Colombia in the US.

Therefore, Messi has had nearly two weeks of rest after last playing in Barcelona’s 8-2 thrashing of SD Huesca.

This is a welcome boost for Valverde, who will take his Barca side over to Anoeta on Saturday.

Valverde hopes that a well-rested Messi will be able to help end the club’s poor run of results away to Sociedad, where they have won just once in their past eight meetings.

He also hinted at some changes in the line-up with Barcelona set to play five times in the next 15 days.

“Those players [who didn’t play in the international break] didn’t have that wear,” he told a news conference. “They’ve had more time to train, to rest.

“There’s that tiring experience of travelling, a lot of air miles, other players have had to do that, so generally it’s better for us, I won’t deny that.

“We always expect the best from Messi, as we do from any player, regardless of whether there’s a midweek game or not.

We knew when players had to travel for their national teams and there are away games immediately afterwards, of course, it’s a huge advantage to have him rested for the last week.

“We have another game in just three days’ time. Some of the players have been playing with small fitness issues so, yes, I might make some changes.”