17 October 2020 22:33
Barcelona fans are not happy with manager Ronald Koeman's decision to start Lionel Messi against Getafe on Saturday. The captain, who has played all of their three matches so far, will once again lead the team out despite playing twice for Argentina over the international break. Messi scored the only goal in Argentina's 1-0 win over Ecuador and then played all 90 minutes against Bolivia in La Paz on Tuesday in World Cup qualifying. The game was played at altitude which makes it physically grueling for the players. The 33-year-old only returned to Barcelona training on Thursday afternoon, but Koeman had no qualms about putting him straight into his starting XI, a decision which has not impressed fans.
Messi starting here better mean he gets rested against Ferencvaros because he really should not be starting here. this is genuinely dangerous given he was playing at altitude in La Paz just four days (and one transatlantic flight) ago. #PrayForMessisHamstrings — Muhammad Butt (@muhammadbutt) October 17, 2020 Messi should not be starting this match for Barcelona. Playing two matches, one of which at altitude, he really shouldn't. But happy with Pedri, Dembele and Dest starting.
— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) October 17, 2020 WTF is Messi starting for? The season is long, the fixture list packed. I like Dest, Pedri and Dembele starting. But … — kevinwilliams (@kevvwill) October 17, 2020 Messi not resting after ninety minutes running around in the altitude in Bolivia… I understand he wants to play every match, but it's such an irresponsible risk. — Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) October 17, 2020 Koeman's decision is particularly interesting given Barcelona have a hectic fixture list between now and the end of the month. After facing Getafe the team will head back to Barcelona to prepare for their first Champions League match against Ferencvaros on Tuesday. The Catalan giants follow that up with a visit from champions Real Madrid in La Liga on Saturday and then head to Juventus in the Champions League four days later for what is a crucial group stage fixture. Follow the Heavy on Barcelona Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content! Rivaldo Talks Messi Rest Koeman had been told to rest Messi ahead of the game by former Barcelona and Brazil forward Rivaldo. The 48-year-old offered the Barcelona boss some advice in his column for Betfair. "Barcelona will return to action this Saturday at Getafe but Lionel Messi may be a little tired after his efforts for Argentina in this week's World Cup qualifiers, especially as he played at high altitude at Bolivia. "It's not only a problem for Messi as many other players had to deal with it recently. But Messi should discuss with Ronald Koeman and the Barca doctors how to conserve his energy. "I believe he wants to play this weekend, just like I did in similar situations during my career, so the decision could be more in Messi's hands than anyone else. If he decides to play it will be difficult to stop him. "In an early phase of the season, however, it's important to avoid unnecessary injuries and that might mean sometimes he needs to rest. He could start on the bench but I'm sure that Messi will be determined to start, as he always wants to be out there." The Barcelona boss was asked about resting Messi in his pre-match press conference and also whether he thought the Argentina international could play the next four games in a row. Koeman said that Messi has returned from international duty "with a lot of excitement, very motivated" and added his captain is the type of player who "wants to play every match." Koeman Makes Four Changes Yet Koeman has opted to make some changes to his team. In defense, Sergino Dest has come in for the injured Jordi Alba and starts at left-back. It's a full Barcelona debut for the 19-year-old who featured as a substitute in the draw over Sevilla. Center-back Clement Lenglet returns from suspension and replaces Ronald Araujo, while Pedri and Ousmane Dembele have been handed their first starts of the season and the chance to impress. The game is Dembele's first La Liga start in 2020 after a tough time with injuries. The French forward will be keen to impress after appearing to slip down the pecking order at the Camp Nou. Pedri's inclusion is also an interesting choice by Koeman. The 17-year-old has only been at the club a matter of months but has already made two substitute appearances and seems to have made a big impression on Koeman already. READ NEXT: Koeman Offers Ousmane Dembele, Riqui Puig Hope at Barcelona Jose Mourinho persuaded Lionel Messi to join Chelsea in 2014 According to Sky Italy's Gianluca Di Marzio (h/t Sky Sports), Chelsea were close to signing Lionel Messi in 2014. The Blues were ready to activate the Argentine's mammoth €250m release clause and also pay him a net wage of £50m per season. Talks with the player progressed in the midst of the tax-evasion case against Messi's family in 2013. The player had earlier admitted that the experience gave him a reason to consider quitting Spain. Jose Mourinho convinced Lionel Messi to join Chelsea in 2014 The revelation regarding Messi and Chelsea was made in Di Marzio's latest book Grand Hotel Calciomercato, a diary of the untold stories of the transfer market. Then manager Jose Mourinho had a video call with the footballing legend and even persuaded the player to make the switch to Stamford Bridge. However, the involvement of Messi's father, agent Jorge and former Chelsea star Deco made the deal go bust. This, in spite of personal terms already being agreed. Messi was ready to quit Barcelona in 2013 The Blues were not the only team keen on securing the Argentine legend. Real Madrid were also interested in persuading him to switch to the Santiago Bernebeu. It was always going to be a bridge too far given his allegiance to Barcelona. Chelsea, however, appeared to have had a fighting shot. More Chelsea News Chelsea won the Premier League in 2015 Messi is one of the best players not just in today's game but in the history of football. Mourinho's 2014/15 squad at Chelsea included stars such as Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas, Willian and Diego Costa to name a few. It would remain speculative as to what would have been had Messi indeed moved to Chelsea that year.