Messi, whose wife is pregnant with the couple’s third child, has been replaced by Yerry Mina for Saturday’s clash (11:45pm UAE time).
Argentinean Messi has four goals in his last three leagues games for leaders Barca, who could go 11 points clear with victory at the La Rosaleda Stadium.
[LAST MINUTE] Change to the squad. Messi is out for personal reasons and Yerry Mina takes his place
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 10, 2018
Reports in Spain suggested that the Brazilian could make a return to his former club from Paris Saint-Germain where he is currently injured – and reportedly unsettled.
But Valverde described the story as “a fantasy” as he held his pre-match press conference ahead of Barca’s La Liga trip to Malaga on Saturday (kick-off 23:45 UAE).
After their win over nearest rivals Atletico Madrid last weekend, Barcelona are eight points clear at the top – and still unbeaten in the league.
Malaga were the last team to defeat Barcelona in La Liga, with a 2-0 win last April.
Barcelona’s players welcomed a special visitor at their training session ahead of the match, when they were joined by Benjamin Suarez, son of striker Luis.
Benjamin Suarez was a hit at the club’s training session on Friday even though he wasn’t able to show off his skills in front of Barca’s stars.
Instead, he watched in silence as his father trained with the first team.
However, Messi believes he’s seen enough of Benjamin’s ability on previous occasions to claim he is indeed gifted.
The Argentine was quick to point out that he is left-footed, unlike his father.
“Benja plays very well, he is also left-footed, so nothing to do with his father,” Messi joked in an interview with Marca.