Barcelona manager, Valverde reveals why Messi was dropped against Juventus — Champions League

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde admitted benching Lionel Messi was a tough decision

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde admitted benching Lionel Messi was a tough decision

The Barcelona man, who was donning a substitute vest, was poked fun of by Higuain.

Juventus and AS Roma both need to win their final Champions League group games to be sure to progress to the knockout stage after drawing 0-0 with Barcelona and losing 2-0 at Atletico Madrid respectively on Wednesday.

Perhaps recollecting the otherworldly shift the 33-year-old put in against their side back in September or perhaps just recognizing his eternal class and character, Iniesta left the pitch to a rousing standing ovation from Juventus supporters. We thought it would be a tight game and then it would open up.

And now it looks like fans of Juventus are getting in on the act.

Despite the wealth of attacking talent in the Juve squad, the home side never really had clear chances on goal.

Valverde's men did not force Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to make a single save throughout the match, but their stopper Marc Andre ter Stegen had to be at his brilliant best to deny Paulo Dybala at the death.

Barcelona, which rested Lionel Messi for the first half, went closest to breaking the deadlock when Ivan Rakitic hit the post with a free kick.

Argentina superstar Messi was a surprise omission from the starting line-up against Juventus
Argentina superstar Messi was a surprise omission from the starting line-up against Juventus

Juve have won three and drawn two of the five meetings on Italian soil, including a memorable 3-0 quarter-final success en route to last season's final. "It'll certainly be a very difficult month, we are going to a passionate atmosphere at Olympiacos, but we are Juventus and must go to win in every stadium".

Even so, coach Massimiliano Allegri enjoyed the match. It's unusual a player of Messi's caliber might start a Champions League match on the pine, but Barca ultimately got the result they needed.

Messi in action against Juventus.

After the first half, in 56th minutes of the game, Valverde replaced Deulofeu by Lionel Messi but he could not dominate the ground at all.

However, Catalan publication Sport have revealed why Messi started the match on the bench.

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, right, smiles prior to the medal ceremony and the 'Carlos Ferrer Salat' prizes in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Nov 22, 2017.

Latest News