By 90Min
September 25, 2019

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has revealed that Lionel Messi was withdrawn from Tuesday's 2-1 win over Villarreal as a precaution after the Argentinian began feeling pain in his leg.

In what was his first start since recovering from a foot injury, Messi managed to grab a vital assist, but he limped off the field shortly before half time and was replaced during the interval.

Alex Caparros/GettyImages

Fortunately, speaking after the game (via Marca), Valverde revealed that Messi was only substituted as a precaution after he felt pain in his thigh, and there does not appear to be any real problem.

He said: "When something happens to Messi, the world stops, but it doesn't seem to be anything more than a nuisance in the adductor and we substituted him as a precaution."

Valverde confessed that his side struggled without their talisman: "We started well, with goals and dominating clearly. The last part of the first half, we were been worse, when Leo has been off the field, because everything has stopped. 

"They dominated us with an inside game and the goal came. In the second half, we were fine because we have not conceded too much. We were one step away from the third goal, but we were not accurate enough."

Alex Caparros/GettyImages

Should Valverde prove to be correct about Messi's fitness, the winger will likely be ready to face Getafe on Saturday, but could be rested to ensure he is fit for the trip to Inter in the Champions League just days later.

Victory over Villarreal ensured Barcelona bounced back from a poor run of form which saw them draw with Borussia Dortmund and fall to a shock 2-0 defeat to Granada. Fans have begun to question Valverde, but this victory should ease the pressure for the time being.

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