Messi dropped for Champions League game at Inter after Mallorca’s heroics

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Ernesto Valverde has left the Argentine magician out of his latest Champions League squad with the Blaugrana already safely through to the last 16

Barcelona’s superstar Lionel Messi has been left out of his team’s Champions League squad to face Inter Milan with the Blaugrana already safely through to the last 16.

The Argentine magician will sit out Barcelona’s clash on Tuesday against the Nerazzuri after scoring a hat-trick in a 5-2 win over Mallorca at the weekend.

The 32-year-old helped the Spanish champions go back to the top of La Liga on Saturday, as he celebrated winning a record sixth Ballon d’Or at the start of the week with another magnificent display.

Messi’s 35th La Liga hat-trick saw him snatch Cristiano Ronaldo’s long-held record for hat tricks in the division, with Antoine Griezmann and Luiz Suarez also getting in on the act for Barca.

After being plagued by persistent injuries at the start of the campaign, Messi has once again found his stride and contributed 12 goals and five assists in 10 domestic outings, showing exactly why he is revered by many as the world’s finest player once again.

The Argentine, will not, however, have the chance to add to his 2019-20 tally when Barca travel to San Siro to face Inter in midweek.

Valverde has opted to leave Messi out of his final 20-man squad, with the Blaugrana already guaranteed to finish top of Group F after a 3-1 home win over Borussia Dortmund on match day five.

First teamers like Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto have also been granted well-earned rests, while Nelson Semedo, Arthur, Ousmane Dembele and Jordi Alba are missing through injury.

Inter must beat Barcelona to qualify for the knockout stages, as they sit above Dortmund by virtue of their head-to-head record, with the German outfit set to host Slavia Prague on the same night.

Messi can now rest in preparation for Barca’s trip to Real Sociedad on Saturday. Valverde’s men lead the way in La Liga on goal difference ahead of Real Madrid after 15 games, having recorded 11 wins, one draw and three defeats.

After their fixture at the Anoeta, Barca will look ahead to the first Clasico of the season, which is due to take place at Camp Nou on December 18.

The two sides were originally scheduled to face off on October 26, but the La Liga showdown was postponed by the Spanish Football federation due to security concerns.