'Messi may be rested against Celta Vigo'
Barcelona: Lionel Messi could be among a number of key players rested from Barcelona's game against Celta Vigo tomorrow, according to coach Ernesto Valverde.
Barca broke the record for the longest unbeaten streak in La Liga on Saturday when they beat Valencia to make it 39 league games without defeat.
But, with an 11 point lead at the top of the table and the Copa del Rey final against Sevilla to come on Saturday, Valverde is ready to rotate for the trip to Galicia to face ninth-placed Celta.
"Resting Messi is a possibility like any other, but I think he is playing well, the other day he played a good game," Valverde said on Monday.
"We will make changes to the team in Vigo, I think it's an important week and that the team needs the rest."
Messi has only recently recovered from a knock to his knee while Sergio Busquets has been playing through the pain of a broken toe. Ivan Rakitic suffered a broken finger last week and may also miss out.
Meanwhile, FC Barcelona go into a busy week which could end with their winning the Copa del Rey and moving to within touching distance of the league.
Saturday sees Barcelona play Sevilla in the final of the Copa del Rey in the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, reports Xinhua news agency.
Ernesto Valverde's side needs just eight points to be confirmed as this season's La Liga champions if the second-placed Atletico Madrid don't drop any points in their remaining games. Currently Barcelona have 82 points, while Atletico have 71 points after 32 rounds of games. So, if Atletico manage to win all of their remaining games, they can maximum reach up to 89 points.
Barcelona warm up for the cup final with a league match away to Celta Vigo on Tuesday night on what will no doubt be an emotional evening for Celta coach Juan Carlos Unzue, who was assistant to Luis Enrique at the Catalan giants until the end of last season.
Unzue's side are one of only two teams to have taken points from the Camp Nou when they drew 2-2 in their first meeting this season and Unzue has tried to give Celta a 'Barcelona style' passing game, which has at times been very effective.
However, they have also shown that they have a soft underbelly and if teams are able to close them down, as Leganes did over the weekend, they find it hard to play the ball out from the back.
The need for fresh legs in the Barcelona side and Valverde's desire to rest key players for Saturday will probably see him make some changes to the starting 11.
Nelson Semedo, Thomas Vermaelen and Ivan Rakitic all have a chance of a start, while Paulinho could continue in midfield.
It will also be interesting to see if young French winger Ousmane Dembele, who conceded a penalty against Valencia on Saturday, will get a chance or whether someone like Denis Suarez or even Paco Alcacer could force their way into the side. There is little doubt that Barcelona will win the league title, the question is when they will win it. With his side showing some signs of fatigue, Valverde's task is to juggle his pack to ensure they continue giving their best.