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BARCELONA

Messi not in squad for Betis match

Barça coach Ernesto Valverde said that he wouldn’t risk the Argentina star unless he was 100%.

Messi not in squad for Betis match
ALBERT GEA REUTERS

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde’s face in his press conference made it pretty clear he didn’t think Leo Messi had much chance of playing against Betis in Barça’s second LaLiga match of the season, at the Camp Nou on Sunday at 21:00. And that was confirmed when Barcelona released their squad news for the match with Leo Messi failing to be included in the 18-man group.

Messi failed to make training

Soon after the Barça coach’s press conference his doubts were confirmed when Messi failed to join his team-mates at training, working out on his own.

Valverde insisted that he was unwilling to take any risks with his star player and that his main aim was for the forward to keep improving. Messi did train with the rest of the Barcelona squad the past two days, but missing out today meant he’ll play no part in Sunday’s match against Betis as he continues to recover from the calf injury he picked up on his first day back at training this season.

Problems up front for Barcelona

The absence of Messi leaves Valverde with a headache up front, with Dembélé and Suárez also both out. He can however count on Rafinha Alcántara, who has recovered from a bout of gastroenteritis he suffered on Friday.

Barcelona will likely start with Griezmann up front, alongside Rafinha and Barcelona B player Carles Pérez.