Luis Enrique takes Messi off to give him his first rest of 2017
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique took Leo Messi off in the 63rd minute of the 3-0 win in LaLiga over Athletic. Messi has played everything this year and hadn't been taken off in a game since September 2016.
Messi taken off against Athletic
Leo Messi was substituted in the 63rd minute of the LaLiga match against Athletic at the Camp Nou, with the scoreboard reading 2-0.
Luis Enrique decided to give the Argentinean player a rest, his first in 2017, having played every available minute: four full games in LaLiga and five in the Copa del Rey.
What's more, the Argentinean hasn't been taken off in a game he started since 21 September 2016, in the match against Atlético Madrid.
Messi part of Luis Enrique's rotation plan
Messi is not immune from Luis Enrique's rotation plan, which aims to have the squad in top physical condition for the season's sharp end. The MSN have now all been included: Neymar sat out the game against Las Palmas (5-0), while Luis Suárez was rested today against Athletic. The Uruguayan was also taken off in the 68th minute of the game against Las Palmas, and in the 76th minute against Eibar. Neymar was subbed against Athletic in the Copa (87th minute) and against Real Sociedad with five minutes to go.
Messi, Suárez, Nemyar minutes
So far this season Messi has played 2,617 minutes, Luis Suárez 2,584 and Neymar 2,486.