No guarantee Lionel Messi plays second leg despite Copa del Rey deficit, says Gerard Pique

Sport360 staff 18:05 24/01/2019
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Barcelona announced the signing of Frenkie de Jong on Wednesday evening but Sevilla ensured that the Catalan club did not enjoy a perfect day.

Pablo Machin’s men defeated a heavily rotated side 2-0 in the first leg of the Copa Del Rey quarter-finals. Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Philippe Coutinho were some of the notable absentees in the starting line-up and the Argentinian was not on the bench either.

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde defended his decision to rest the Argentine for the cup fixture, saying that poor rotation cost them last season.

Gerard Pique believes that Valverde will be the one to decide if Messi will be benched in the second leg.

“First we have to play the league game against Girona and then focus on the return leg at the Camp Nou,” Pique said, according to MARCA.

“Whether Messi plays is the decision for the coach.

“In the first half we had a very clear opportunity and in the second we could have risked a little more to try and draw the match but Sevilla were better, and I congratulate them for it.

“We have a very competitive squad and the coach wants us all to participate. The performance was good but they took advantage of all their chances.”

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