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Ernesto Valverde explains why he brought Lionel Messi on against Alaves

The captain arrived with the visitors already 2-0 up

Deportivo Alaves v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde explained why he brought Lionel Messi on in the second half of Tuesday’s win over Alaves rather than allow his captain the night off.

Messi was named on the bench for the match as Valverde rotated his side, but he arrived on the hour mark for Ousmane Dembele with Barcelona already 2-0 up.

The substitution was met with surprise by some supporters, and Valverde was asked about it after the game.

“The idea was that he’d play because the result wasn’t clear when it was goalless at half time,” he said. The suggestion that it was about the Golden Shoe... well, we focus on winning.

”It was time for him to get some rest today and to come out in the second half. It’s good for players to stay involved and active. You can’t put them away in a case and then just bring them out for one match.”

Source | Marca

Valverde was able to rest plenty of first teamers against Alaves and still see his team take home all three points.

Ivan Rakitic was left out of the squad entirely, Clement Lenglet spent the match on the bench, while Messi, Jordi Alba and Arthur were all second-half substitutes.

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