Messi benched for Levante

Lionel Messi will start Barcelona’s Copa del Rey game with Levante as a substitute.

Marca reports that the Argentina forward will be named by Tata Martino on the bench in an effort to keep him fresh for forthcoming fixtures.

Barca lead the Copa tie 4-1 from the first-leg when a Cristiano Tello hat-trick at Ciutat de Valencia put Martino’s side in a commanding position.

Valencia provide the opposition for Barca this weekend with Sevilla to come eight days later and Messi will be rested for the Copa match with future games in mind.

Andres Iniesta is expected to start, however, for his first appearance since suffering an injury against Atletico Madrid earlier in January.

Iniesta bruised his knee in the goalless draw and is only now ready to make his return.

Tags Lionel Messi