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Koeman left Messi in Barcelona while team heads for match against Ukraine

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Koeman left Messi in Barcelona while team heads for match against Ukraine

Ronald Koeman maintains Leo Messi is still a pivotal figure in Barcelona, through the tough start to the season, and having left him out of the squad for their Champions League meeting with Dynamo Kyiv.

The Dutch coach has decided to leave his star man in Barcelona as the team heads to Ukraine for their fourth Champions League group game of the season.

With the luxury of having secured their opening three meetings, Koeman saw that it was a chance to send the 33-year-old a break, as well as midfielder Frenkie de Jong.

“We have decided not to bring Leo or De Jong because the situation in the Champions League is good and they can rest,” he said at the pre-match press conference.

“They have played many games. We talk too much about [Messi]. He has always had a lot of influence on the club’s success and he can still continue to do so. We believe it is a good time for Leo and Frenkie to rest. They have played every game and almost every minute, they have had to travel [a lot].”

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