Barca Won 1-2 as they faced Inter without Messi in UEFA Champions League.
Barca won their group game against Inter, which saw them off to the round of 16 after topping their group.
Lionel Messi’s omission from Barcelona’s squad for their Champions League clash with Inter was influenced by a daunting set of forthcoming fixtures that includes a potentially crucial Clasico with Real Madrid.
Ernesto Valverde has rested Messi for Tuesday’s game at the San Siro, with Barca enjoying the luxury of having already qualified for the last 16 as Group F winners.
Barca visits fourth-placed Real Sociedad in their next La Liga match on Saturday before welcoming Madrid to the Camp Nou the following Wednesday and then hosting Alaves in their final fixture before the mid-season break.
Messi may have picked up his sixth Ballon d’Or but the No.10 set alarm bells ringing when he admitted last week that retirement was approaching
“I am worried about the day Messi retires,” said Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu previous week. And, although the club’s leader has his detractors, this time, he spoke for them too.
Bartomeu also spoke for the football world, anxious to savour every last moment Lionel Messi has to offer before he eventually decides to hang up his boots.
The Argentine forward is 32, 33 next June, and naturally, questions are being asked over his longevity. Not because of any wane in his performance levels – Messi collected his sixth Ballon d’Or last Monday – but because time catches up to everyone in the end.
Valverde’s men are level on points with Madrid at the top of the table as they lead the league on goal difference after winning the title last campaign.
In the face of repeated questioning about Messi’s absence at a media conference on Monday, Barcelona boss Valverde pointed to that run of three games in eight days as the key reason for his decision.
“Messi getting rest. Nothing more,” Valverde said before the game. “We come from essential games, and we have relevant matches, and I have decided that some players do not come.
Barca young star, Fati, became the younger goal scorer in Champions League history after grabbing the win for the Spanish giant.