Messi on bench for Juve showdown

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde has reportedly elected to rest Messi ahead of Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash away to Valencia in La Liga.

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde has reportedly elected to rest Messi ahead of Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash away to Valencia in La Liga.

The five-time European champions require just a point in Italy to clinch top spot in Group D, while Juventus will also qualify if they avoid defeat and Sporting fail to beat Olympiakos in Lisbon.

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri recalled veteran duo Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Barzagli after they were left out for Sunday’s 3-2 defeat at Sampdoria following Italy’s failure to qualify for the World Cup.

But the Serie A champions will be without injured centre-back Giorgio Chiellini.

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