Phil Costa

Lionel Messi dropped to the bench as Barcelona host Athletic

Lionel Messi has been dropped to the bench by Ernesto Valverde as Barcelona take on Athletic Club at Camp Nou.

According to SPORT, the decision to rest Messi was made with two difficult fixtures ahead – Tottenham and Valencia – to avoid burnout.

Without Messi, a front three of Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembélé and Luis Suárez will be tasked of scoring the goals for La Blaugrana.

Clément Lenglet returns to the side after suspension, Arturo Vidal partners Ivan Rakitić in midfield with Sergi Roberto deputising for Sergio Busquets.