Barcelona have confirmed that Lionel Messi has been left out of their squad to face Inter in the Champions League on Tuesday with the Catalans' place in the last 16 confirmed.
Barça have already secured top spot in their group, so this game will have no impact on the final standings.
The 2️⃣0️⃣ summoned for the trip to Milan! pic.twitter.com/CD2OmOf8Ij— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 9, 2019
Given they have nothing to play for on Tuesday, the club has confirmed on its official website that Messi is one of several senior players who have been given the night off to ensure they remain fit for Saturday's trip to Real Sociedad.
Nélson Semedo, Arthur, Ousmane Dembélé and Jordi Alba all remain sidelined, although both Semedo and Alba returned to training with the rest of the group on Sunday, suggesting that their enforced absences could soon be coming to an end.
Valverde has turned to the club's young players to help fill out his 20-man squad. Alongside regular first-team members Carles Pérez and Ansu Fati, there have been call-ups for
While the game will mean very little to Barcelona, the absence of such key players like Messi will come as a huge boost to Inter, who are fighting for their European lives.
However, Dortmund are expected to pick up all three points when they welcome bottom-side Slavia Prague to the Signal Iduna Park, meaning Inter may need a victory over Barcelona to qualify for the knockout stages.
While Valverde's squad is still full of quality, it does not take a genius to point out that Inter will have a better chance of winning the game because Messi will not be playing.
A slip-up could see Inter drop to third in their group, which would come as a huge blow to Conte's side, who are trying to re-establish themselves as a European powerhouse once more.