Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has confirmed he opted to leave Lionel Messi on the bench for their 5-2 La Liga win over Real Betis as a precaution.
Messi started as a substitute at the Camp Nou after reports of a minor injury picked up in the 2-1 midweek Champions League win over Dynamo Kyiv.
Koeman brought the Argentinian international on as a second half substitute against Manuel Pellegrini’s side with the 33-year old playing a vital role in their first win for a month.
Messi’s dummy created a perfect chance for Antoine Griezmann to make it 2-1 to the hosts before he netted twice himself in the final half hour.
“Since yesterday we talked and he had some discomfort from the game against Dynamo Kyiv,” Koeman told a post game interview with Marca.
“We decided it was best to leave him on the bench in case we needed him.
“Without discomfort, he would have played. We know who he is and I have no doubts about him.
“I watch him work every day. He was not a starter today, but in the second half he was very important. ”
Messi will now join up with Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina squad for their vital 2022 World Cup qualifying double header against Paraguay and Peru.
He featured in both of Argentina’s qualifiers during the September international break, netting a spot kick winner against Ecuador.
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