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Messi left out of UCL squad

Barca captain Messi left out of UCL squad for Dynamo Kyiv trip, Koeman reveals why

November 23, 2020 By Ali M.
The Blaugrana will be traveling to Ukraine for their upcoming Champions League game but will be without their club captain.

Barcelona are gearing up for what should be a tricky trip to Dynamo Kyiv in the UEFA Champions League. The Blaugrana have been in poor form as of late, having lost 1-0 to Atletico Madrid in their most recent fixture, are in dire need of a win but despite this, Ronald Koeman has decided to leave Lionel Messi out of the squad.

The 19-man team to travel to Ukraine was announced on Monday and everyone immediately noticed the Argentine's absence. The 33-year-old may not be at his best this season, scoring only once from open play so far in 2020/21, but the six-time Ballon d'Or winner undoubtedly remains their best and most talented player. 

Leo has played in four different positions already for Koeman this season but has still contributed to 10 goals in 11 appearances, scoring six and assisting four across all competitions. Given that the Catalan giants have won only four of their last nine matches, they could do without another slip-up in Tuesday's game.

But this begs the question: why was Messi left out of the squad? Many began speculating whether Leo had been dropped due to his poor performances. Koeman has shown before that he can axe big names regardless of their star power but when speaking to the press, the coach insisted that this was not the case.

The Dutch tactician revealed to the press that he merely opted to hand the club captain a rest in a competition where the Blaugrana are doing just fine. In fact, Messi was not the only star name to be left out, with Frenkie de Jong also being omitted from the trip to Kiev. 

"We think this is a good moment to rest them [Messi and De Jong]," were Koeman's words.

The Spanish giants boast a perfect record in the Champions League, winning their opening three games. They are top on the table, sitting three points ahead of closest rivals Juventus and given the current injury crisis; with Pique, Roberto, and Dembele joining  Ronald Araujo, Ansu Fati and Sergio Busquets on the sidelines; Koeman must give his fit players a breather or risk losing more to knocks.

However, it will be interesting to see how this decision fares. When the two sides met at Camp Nou, it was Dynamo Kyiv the impressed despite losing 2-1. With the Ukrainian giants now boasting the home advantage, will the decision to rest Messi and De Jong backfire? Time will reveal the answer.

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