By 90Min
April 07, 2018

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde is reluctant to rest Lionel Messi for Saturday's visit of Leganes, despite the Argentina star's recent injury troubles.

Messi missed Argentina's friendlies against Italy and Spain during the recent international break, having aggravated a recurrent muscular complaint while away on duty.

He started on the bench against Sevilla last weekend but was brought on with Barcelona 2-0 down and inspired a late comeback, scoring a brilliant last-minute equaliser to salvage Barca's unbeaten record, which now stands at 37 matches.

Asked whether Messi would be risked for Saturday's game, Valverde did not rule it out.

"We'll see," Valverde told reporters at his pre-match press conference, quoted by AS. "He played the other day [against Roma], and against Sevilla he was rested for part of the game. 

"He has had a few problems and didn't play with the national team. He's a player who wants to be active because he's the best, but we have to talk after training."

Avoiding defeat against Leganes would equal the all-time La Liga record for consecutive matches without defeat, set by Real Sociedad in 1979-80. Valverde denied that this would be playing on his team's minds.

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"We don't really have it in our heads," he said. "We remember in these cases and they're important figures, but we're already talking about achieving it – we have to win or draw."

Victory on Saturday would also move Barcelona closer to reclaiming La Liga title. They currently lead second-placed Atletico Madrid by nine points and it may be more by the end of the weekend, with Atletico making the short trip to in-form rivals Real Madrid.

Messi played the full 90 minutes against Roma in Wednesday's Champions League quarter final first leg. Barcelona won 4-1 to take a commanding advantage to Italy for Tuesday's return fixture.

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