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It had been speculated that coach Pep Guardiola may rest the Argentine after he featured twice for his country in the recent international break, but he starts in a strong line-up

Lionel Messi starts for Barcelona in Saturday night's Primera Division clash at home to Zaragoza.

Messi's participation was uncertain after he underwent a long journey to feature for Argentina in their recent World Cup qualifiers this week, but the 24-year-old is named in a strong side which also sees centre-backs Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol both start, as well as youngster Isaac Cuenca.

Chile winger Alexis Sanchez also features from the outset, but David Villa is left out of the starting side for the fourth game in a row, while Andres Iniesta is also on the bench.

Sergio Busquets has been left out of the squad altogether - along with Pedro, who has recovered from injury - as coach Pep Guardiola looks ahead to Barca's midweek Champions League clash with AC Milan.

Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Pique, Puyol, Maxwell; Keita, Cesc, Xavi; Alexis, Messi, Cuenca.

Subs: Pinto, Abidal, Mascherano, Fontas, Iniesta, Thiago, Villa

Zaragoza (4-2-3-1): Roberto; E. Juarez, Mateos, Lanzaro, Paredes; Ponzio, Meira; Barrera, Luis García, J. Carlos; Postiga.


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