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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Messi rested for Sevilla trip, Boateng set for debut

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has afforded Lionel Messi a rest for the Copa del Rey contest away to Sevilla on Wednesday.
Lionel Messi has been left out of Barcelona's squad for Wednesday's Copa del Rey trip to Sevilla as he is given a rest, but new signing Kevin-Prince Boateng is included.
Messi was absent from Barca's starting XI for the visit of Leganes in LaLiga on Sunday, coming on as a substitute to spare their blushes – playing a role in Luis Suarez's goal before also scoring himself.
Coach Ernesto Valverde acknowledged in the lead up to that game that he was likely to take opportunities to rest Messi in the coming weeks ahead of a busy period, which includes the return of the Champions League.
Sevilla – a team he boasts a fine record against – are the lucky beneficiaries of his time out of the side, as Barca travel to Andalusia for the first leg of their Copa quarter-final.
However. Boateng is in line to make his first appearance for the club.
The Germany-born former Ghana international joined Barca in a shock loan deal from Sassuolo on Monday, a move which caught many by surprise.
The 31-year-old makes his return to Spanish football having previously featured for Las Palmas.
Young talent Riqui Puig is included in the squad as well, with opponents Sevilla aiming to arrest a run of three successive defeats in all competitions.