The captain is an unexpected absence from the starting lineup, but his unique talent is crucial in saving his team from losing more points.
Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman moved to clear any controversy over having Lionel Messi on the bench Saturday, after the Argentine came on to secure the team’s Liga victory over Betis.
Messi is a surprising omission in the Blaugrana starting line-up as they want to end a four-match winless streak at the Camp Nou.
By the middle of the first half, however, Koeman asked for his presence, throwing him into action that put Barca at a 1-1 stalemate against Seville’s side.
Messi made an immediate impact, beating Antoine Griezmann with a superb dummy before scoring two on his own, including his first from the opening match in the entire 2020 season- 21 to date.
Teen sensation Pedri secured a 5-2 win for Barca in stoppage time, but after the match all eyes were on Koeman and his decision to risk his decision to knock Messi out of the starting lineup .
“We talked to Leo, who left Dynamo [Kyiv] a game with a tough joke and he was not fit enough to play from the start, “the Dutchman explained to reporters after the final whistle.
“He was on the bench in case we needed him. If the fitness is good, he’ll play from the start.”
Barca’s recent poor form sent the Catalan side down to 14th by the time they started on Saturday, increasing the pressure on Koeman after just a few games.
And although they needed Messi’s miraculous intervention to win three points, the coach was pleased to see his side create opportunities, while pointing to Griezmann’s contribution as the Frenchman pulled back. after missing the penalty in the first half.
“It was a big win because of how far we need points and I am satisfied with our attacking play,” he added.
“We created a lot of danger, with so many opportunities. The halftime draw was not fair.
“We played better, took penalties and got more chances. We deserved to score in the second half.
“I hope [Griezmann] continues to work as he did so far. You must be there to miss.
“I want to highlight his character while staying here and keep working hard. He is fully aware that he missed the chance. Despite the bad luck, he is always there to score. table.”