Sports

Barcelona rest Messi, De Jong in Champions League match

The Champions League has been Barcelona’s protected haven this season, a lot in order that the membership will depart Lionel Messi at dwelling for Tuesday’s match in Ukraine. Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman is resting Messi and midfielder Frenkie de Jong for the sport in opposition to Dynamo Kyiv, when the Catalan membership can safe a spot within the knockout stage for the 17th straight season.

“Neither Leo nor Frenkie are touring,” Koeman mentioned Monday. “They want some relaxation. With 9 factors in our group, we’re in a snug scenario and now we have to maintain them contemporary.”

Messi has performed in each match thus far this season after having his request to go away the membership denied within the offseason. De Jong had additionally performed in each match, and each additionally frolicked with their nationwide groups.

“In Leo’s case you even have journeys to South America (to play with Argentina),” Koeman mentioned. “We have now to guard our gamers. It’s inconceivable for them to play each match and all the time be at their greatest. Everybody is aware of that, however now we have to maintain taking part in a number of matches. FIFA and UEFA ought to take motion as a result of it’s inconceivable to be taking part in all these matches.”

Barcelona’s excellent marketing campaign within the Champions League has been the one good factor for the membership just lately. It doesn’t have a president in cost, it’s coping with monetary difficulties, a number of of its gamers are injured and it has struggled within the Spanish league.

Barcelona is coming off a loss to Atlético Madrid that left the crew in 13th place within the Spanish league after eight matches.

“We will’t be proud of our outcomes, however we have to keep motivated,” Koeman mentioned. “We have now one other match tomorrow (Tuesday) and we’re one step away from advancing, so now we have to benefit from this chance.”

The membership is being led by a managing committee since former president Josep Bartomeu and his board of administrators resigned after the fallout from the Messi disaster. The membership additionally has been in the course of tough negotiations with gamers to regulate their salaries amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Within the match in opposition to Atlético, Barcelona additionally misplaced two gamers due to accidents — Sergi Roberto with a muscle damage and Gerard Piqué with a critical knee damage.

“(Piqué) represents a major absence,” Koeman mentioned. “He has been right here for a number of years and has nice persona. It’s unhappy for the crew and for the membership. It’s powerful, however now we have to simply accept it and attempt to resolve the issue.”

Koeman mentioned he could use a participant from the “B” crew to make up for the scarcity in central defenders. He might use 21-year-old Óscar Mingueza to play alongside Clément Lenglet, as Ronald Araújo is coming back from an damage. De Jong has performed as a central defender and is an possibility for Koeman in future matches.

“We will’t take any dangers as a result of now we have only a few central defenders,” he mentioned.

Lenglet mentioned he can be keen to play on the correct facet if wanted.

“It’s not my normal place, it’s a bit completely different, however I can do it to attempt to assist the membership,” he mentioned.

Barcelona has gained its Champions League group each time since 2007-08, and it hasn’t misplaced a gaggle match because the 2016-17 season. Dynamo Kyiv is making its first group look since that 2016-17 season.

With three victories from three matches, Barcelona leads Group G forward of Juventus and has an eight-point benefit over each Dynamo Kyiv and Hungarian membership Ferencváros. Juventus has six factors.

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Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

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Extra AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports



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