Lionel Messi: Why is Barcelona star not playing against Girona in Supercopa de Catalunya?
LIONEL MESSI: Starsport reveals why the Barcelona superstar is not playing in this evening’s Supercopa de Catalunya match against Girona.
By Alex Harris / Published 6th March 2019
Barcelona: Team train ahead of clash against Girona
The Supercopa de Catalunya sees the top two teams in Catalunya face each other in a one-off match.
Barcelona and Espanyol have traditionally dominated the competition, despite regularly fielding under-strength teams.
Girona finished higher in La Liga last term, meaning they could win the cup for the first time in their history.
As a result of the tournament being low on Barcelona’s priority list, Ernesto Valverde has given a host of his big-name players a breather.
Lionel Messi is the standout player not included in Valverde’s squad for the fixture.
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Nelson Semedo, Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Philippe Coutinho, Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele and Arturo Vidal have joined Messi in being given a break.
Rafinha and Thomas Vermahlen are injured.
Barcelona XI: Cillessen, Wague, Miranda, Todibo, Collado, Riqui Puig, Malcom, Murillo, Prince, Alena, Umtiti
Lionel Messi is not playing for Barcelona against Girona in the Supercopa de Catalunya (Pic: GETTY)
Lionel Messi is joined in the stands by Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique (Pic: GETTY)
Meanwhile, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has admitted he “cannot imagine” the club being without Messi.
“At the moment we cannot imagine it, but we have to prepare for it,” Bartomeu told Marca.
“It will be a very different Barcelona, we have to look for young talent.
“Leo has a contract until 2021 and we will also do another renewal. He has the ambition to win titles.”
Lionel Messi squares up with Sergio Ramos in HEATED clash
Jasper Cillessen starts in goal for Barcelona against Girona (Pic: GETTY)
Barcelona vs Girona TV details
The Supercopa de Catalunya is only available on Catalan TV channel TV3.
The game kicks off at 5.45pm GMT (6.45pm CET).
Barcelona will broadcast a full replay of the game on their official YouTube channel from 8.15pm GMT (9.15pm CET).