Barcelona will play on Sunday their final match without two key first team players, as Lionel Messi and Samuel Umtiti will not be ready to return from injury as Barça take on Celta Vigo in a big La Liga match away from home.
The two players will stay in Barcelona through the international break and step up their recoveries in order to be ready to return to the pitch on October 15, when Barça face Deportivo La Coruña at Camp Nou. Just four days later, the Catalan giants face Manchester City in a gigantic Champions League game, and looking ahead to that game, manager Luis Enrique will be carefull with the two players and their minutes.
According to a report from Diario Sport, Umtiti (knee) will start against Deportivo and probably play 90 minutes, since he'll be fully recovered and ready for a full game. Umtiti's start will give Javier Mascherano a chance to rest, since he will play for Argentina and will return from South America just two days before the Depor match, exhausted and without training. Mascherano will probably start against City, with Umtiti covering for him on the weekend.
Messi's case needs more attention because it's MESSI, of course. He will be fit to start against Depor since his groin injury will be fully healed by then, but Enrique wants Leo to be at 110% for the City game, and according to Sport, Messi will only play 30 minutes in the second half to get some game action and warm up for Pep Guardiola's visit to Camp Nou.
The report also says Lucho will make a deep rotation in his squad, resting most of the international, especially those from South America. The last time he did that, Barça lost to Alavés, but Enrique trusts his system and will do it again. With Umtiti as starter, and Messi as a reserve.