Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde claims that he left Lionel Messi out of his squad to face Inter on Tuesday as he didn’t want to risk aggravating the Argentine’s recent arm injury.
The 31-year-old has been out of action for almost three weeks after fracturing his arm during the club’s 4-2 win over Sevilla.
Messi has returned to training ahead of schedule and he was even included in the squad which travelled to San Siro in midweek.
However, Valverde claimed after their 1-1 draw with Inter that he didn’t want to risk bringing Messi back into the matchday squad before he is back to full fitness.
“It was a decision shared by the team. We couldn’t risk Messi. We wanted him to train with the team but training isn’t the same as playing,” Valverde said, quoted by the Daily Star.
“We were careful in training, but we knew that today’s match would be like how it was with the intensity that there was.
“You do not know what can happen and we didn’t want to take risks. We talked to him about it and he understood.”
Barcelona left it late to take the lead against Inter thanks to a goal from substitute Malcom, but the Nerazzurri’s captain Mauro Icardi had the last laugh by firing the ball into the back of the net with just three minutes left of the match.
The result keeps Barcelona at the top of Group B, while Inter trail by three points.
Tottenham revived their hopes of reaching the knockout stages after their comeback against PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday, with the club hosting Inter in a crucial match during the next round of Champions League fixtures.