Messi benched as Bilbao hold Barcelona


Lionel Messi came off the bench to help FC Barcelona claim a point on Saturday, and coach Ernesto Valverde has explained why the superstar started on the bench.

"I believed that Leo and Busquets had to rest because we have a very complicated match on Wednesday", Valverde said.

"I will say it as it is: sometimes we are pissed and you are not in the mood, you just want to walk in [to the dressing room]". When I take a decision like this, I think in the best interests of the team and the club.

Messi was left on the bench for nearly an hour - he climed off it and saved the day setting up Munir El Haddadi for the late leveller.

Messi was a surprise absentee from the starting line-up, along with Sergio Busquets, but he and the Spain midfielder were both called into action in the second half after Oscar de Marcos had put the visitors ahead.

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Leganes had done well to limit their deficit to one goal and they came flying out of the blocks after halftime, chasing down their opponents with aggressive pressing.

Lionel Messi said Barcelona have good enough players to not have to depend on him to bail them out every week after helping salvage a 1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao.

Messi was brought on 10 minutes into the second period to a rousing reception from the home fans and Barcas play instantly improved, with the Argentine smashing a shot against the post and narrowly firing wide, after Coutinho had struck the crossbar.

Barca striker Suarez was critical of his side's performance and their continued dependence on Messi.

Argentina skipper Lionel Messi has reportedly advised his club FC Barcelona to make a move for Spanish youngster Oscar Rodriguez, who now plays for another La Liga side Leganes on loan from Catalan's arch-rivals Real Madrid, reports Spanish outlet, Don Balon. "It's an experience we've got to enjoy", he said.