Luis Enrique has confirmed that Lionel Messi was taken off during Barcelona’s 6-0 win against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday as an injury precaution.
Speaking after the game, which saw Barca exploit Gorka Iraizoz’s early red card, Enrique made it clear he was in no mood to risk Messi, who was replaced by Arda Turan at half-time with “discomfort”.
“[Messi] will undergo tests on Monday,” began the Coach.
“Messi developed slight discomfort and we preferred not to risk him at 2-0 up. I don’t like to risk any player, especially Leo Messi.
“In principle, the game didn’t pan out the way we expected because the red card totally changed its complexity.
“The positioning of our players allowed us to create more chances.
“[Iraizoz’s dismissal] was excessive, although the law states it to be the case.
“[On Barca’s next two games against Athletic], I won’t use this game to teach players how we can beat Athletic because having an extra is too much of an advantage.
“[On Aleix Vidal being preferred to Dani Alves, it wasn’t a wake-up call [for Alves].
“Alves is a unique player. I consider myself a fan of his for the manner in which he competes.
“I’m distributing minutes accordingly until the players reach peak condition for the latter part of the season.
“[Vidal] is a wide player with a lot of physical strength and attacking intensity to play between each box tirelessly.”