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BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 20: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona looks on during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Betis Balompie at Camp Nou on August 20, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Luis Enrique coy on Messi’s role ahead of Celtic tie

Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has refused to confirm whether Lionel Messi will return to his starting line-up for the Champions League opener against Celtic on Tuesday night.

The Argentine has struggled with groin issues over recent weeks, and was forced to withdraw from his national squad in the recent break.

Although claiming he wanted the Argentine to play every minute of every game, suggestions remain that Enrique will be wholesale changes in the line-up following the shock 2-1 defeat to Alaves on Saturday as Gerard Pique, Luis Suarez and Messi were all rested.

However, that rotation proved costly for Barca and reports in Spain suggest they will put their best XI out for the Champions League match with Scotland’s champions.

Asked if Messi would start against Brendan Rodgers side, Luis Enrique responded: “I’d like him to play every single minute, and he would as well. But it will be him and his health that decide that.”

“But it is about what the player is feeling here, what he feels in his leg.

“On Tuesday we will see if he can play many minutes. It is how well his legs are that will dictate how much he can play.”

Reports in Spain believe Luis Enrique is ready to make up to eight changes in his line-up, with only Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and Neymar keeping their spots.

 

 

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