Ronald Koeman explains Lionel Messi absence from Barcelona squad to face Dynamo Kyiv

Barcelona travel to Ukraine to face Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions League on Tuesday evening, but they’ll do it without key players Lionel Messi and Frenkie de Jong.

Ronald Koeman revealed that the pair were being rested after Saturday’s disappointing 1-0 defeat at Atletico Madrid, Barcelona’s first ever loss against a team coached by Cholo Simeone.

“We’ve decided not to take Messi and De Jong,” Koeman said at his pre-match press conference. “Our situation in the Champions League is quite comfortable and they need rest.”

Barcelona’s poor performance has seen Koeman and the players come under criticism in recent weeks, but the Dutchman is staying focused on doing his job and not getting caught up in the noise coming from the media and the supporters.

“We know the situation the club is in and what’s to come,” he said. “I’m happy with the work that the players are doing but I’m not happy with the points total that we have.”

The performances and outward behaviour of Messi has also come under scrutiny, with the uncertainty over his future hanging over the club like a dark cloud. The Argentine tried to leave this past summer and is out of contract come the end of June.

“Leo has always had a lot of influence on the success of this club, and he can still give more,” Koeman said. “I’m convinced that he’s still the player we need.”

Barcelona’s problems were compounded on Saturday by the injury of veteran defender Gerard Pique. The Catalan sprained his ankle and damaged his ACL, and could be out for a significant period of months.

“Pique is a big loss,” Koeman said. “We don’t know how long he’ll be out for, but it won’t be two weeks. Now is the time to give opportunities to the younger players, and if there’s a possibility to make a signing in January we’ll have to speak with the club.”

Koeman also joined many leading European coaches in criticising the truncated schedule that footballers across the continent are having to deal with due to the COVID-shortened season.

“We have to protect the players,” he said. “It’s impossible for them to always perform at a top level. Everyone knows this, but we continue playing a large number of games. UEFA and FIFA have to take action.”

The Azulgrana are currently 12 points behind La Liga leaders Real Sociedad and just four clear of bottom-placed Celta Vigo. Barcelona are currently top of Champions League group G, having won all three games. Dynamo are in third.

Featured image courtesy of FC Barcelona.

Tags Barcelona Champions League Frenkie de Jong La Liga Lionel Messi Ronald Koeman

2 Comments

  1. Ibrahim Nuhu says:

    We are going to make it. For me we are going to win champion league and domestic league

  2. Roger Heeralal says:

    Barca cant win a toss .they only have one player Messi.the rest of the team still needs grooming

Comments are closed