Barcelona sits Lionel Messi, stumbles once more, this time towards Athletic Bilbao


Lionel Messi came off the bench for Barcelona against Athletic Bilbao. (Getty)
Lionel Messi got here off the bench for Barcelona towards Athletic Bilbao. (Getty)

For the third time in seven days, Barcelona performed a La Liga match and didn’t win. That’s nearly unparalleled.

However in a contemporary period outlined by and reliant upon one participant, it’s removed from unfathomable. Particularly when that participant spent nearly all of Saturday’s match sitting on the bench.

Lionel Messi didn’t begin towards Athletic Bilbao at Camp Nou. With the Catalans 1-0 down and heading for his or her second lack of the week, Ernesto Valverde despatched him to the rescue. And he did salvage a degree in a 1-1 draw.

However the injury had been accomplished with Messi (and Sergio Busquets) trying on, helpless. Barca’s savior time and time once more couldn’t undo all of it. He fumed on the referee and flashed pictures simply vast. He created Munir El Haddadi’s equalizer:

He couldn’t discover a winner.

Why Barcelona rests Messi, however why it may possibly’t afford to

Barcelona is aware of that Messi, in his fifteenth skilled season, can’t play each sport, typically twice every week, in each competitors. He can’t drag Barca to each three factors in La Liga, to each Champions League victory, by way of each spherical of the Copa Del Rey.

So it tries to steal breaks for the Argentine celebrity right here and there. With a visit to Tottenham forward on Wednesday, it figured a house date with Sixteenth-place Athletic Bilbao was a very good alternative to select up three factors with out him.

It thought mistaken.

Barcelona’s Messi dependence isn’t fairly on par with Argentina’s. Nevertheless it’s trending in that path.

And Barcelona, usually, is trending within the mistaken path. Its first stumble of the season, a 2-2 draw with 10 males towards Girona, was fluky and comprehensible. A 2-1 loss to Leganes on Wednesday was much less so.

Saturday’s draw exacerbates the fear, and will cough up first place to Actual Madrid, pending the results of El Derbi Madrileño on Saturday night time.

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Henry Bushnell is a options author for Yahoo Sports activities. Have a tip? Query? Remark? E mail him at, or observe him on Twitter @HenryBushnell, and on Fb.



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