A second consecutive Champions League outing for Barcelona will see Lionel Messi settle down, with Ronald Koeman deciding to keep the mercurial Argentine out of his preparations for a meeting with Ferencvaros.
On November 24, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner played no role in Blaugrana’s 4-0 victory over Dynamo Kiev.
The decision was made to grant the 33-year-old a well-earned break, as the continental rivalry was still making positive strides.
Barca did not need the magic of Messi against the Ukrainian opposition and would expect to see history repeat itself on Wednesday.
24 hours before meeting Hungarian foes on the European stage, Koeman’s side will be leaving for Budapest.
So far through their Group G campaign, they have experienced a faultless season, with maximum points taken from four fixtures to date.
A spot is already guaranteed in the last-16, which ensures Koeman is in the enviable situation of being able to shuffle his pack through two more tournaments.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 1, 2020
For the first of these, Messi will be resting again with the goal being to keep him fresh for greater challenges to come.
Rotation inside the ranks of Barca also ensures a split between the sticks would be handed to Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
As his team-mates go in search of another morale-boosting win, Philippe Coutinho is another senior star expected to stay in Catalunya.
Frenkie de Jong was given a Champions League week off against Dynamo Kiev alongside Messi, but this time he is part of the traveling team.
Though nursing a minor knock, Clement Lenglet is also included in Koeman’s team.
Over the weekend, the French defender picked up an ankle allegation against Osasuna to throw doubt on his participation against Ferencvaros.
It could be that in midweek, no chances are taken on him with the possibility of saving the 25-year-old for a La Liga clash on Saturday with Cadiz.
However, Barca is still at center-half without the services of Samuel Umtiti and Gerard Pique, indicating that Koeman would search for another defensive option to dip into the January transfer market.
For now, however, his attention is locked on the moment and without Messi, who did not engage in training on Tuesday as preparations for a meeting with Ferencvaros were concluded, leading his side to three points.