Messi rotation ruled out after four-goal showing for Barcelona

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The Argentine has been in imperious form again of late and Ernesto Valverde sees no reason why he should break that sequence with a rest period

Barcelona have no intention of resting Lionel Messi, with the Argentine still basking in a four-goal salvo against Eibar.

The 30-year-old has been in imperious form this season after scoring 12 times in just eight appearances and his efforts have helped Barca to make a faultless start in their bid to wrestle the La Liga crown back from arch-rivals Real Madrid.

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When taking his fine form into account, Ernesto Valverde sees no reason why he would look to hand Messi a rest, despite the games coming think and fast.

Ahead of Saturday’s clash with Girona, which will be followed by a midweek trip to Sporting in the Champions League, the Barca boss said: "I wouldn't usually change a player who's scored four goals! So I won't be.

"We know it's a long road ahead and Leo's numbers show he's on track. We want to keep it going.

"I think he's always been known as ambitious in front of goal and a great goalscorer, and that's what we want. He's decisive.

"You saw what Messi did the other day. He's done things people think can't be done. We want to keep that going."

Barca set the pace in the Spanish top-flight at present, with maximum points taken from five fixtures.

Ernesto Valverde Lionel Messi Barcelona no rest

While the Catalans have been soaring, Real have been wobbling to sit seventh and seven points adrift of their old adversaries.

Crisis talk has been sparked at the Santiago Bernabeu, but Valverde says it is far too early to be writing off last season’s Liga and Champions League double winners.

He added: "A month ago, we were in a disaster.

“There are teams who have zero points. They will think they're in a crisis. I don't know what clubs consider to be a crisis. What matters to me is my team.

"It's tough for me to respond to questions about Real Madrid, I have to say. I didn't expect it [their slump] and I didn't not expect it. I'm on the other side of the wall.

"It's too early for me to get my head around it. I'm not used to these things, what do I know?

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"You worry about what the teams on your heels are doing, and that's it. I'm sure I'll soon get used to these questions and I'll have a better answer for you.

"We're talking about now, about this week. What matters is what happens on Saturday and Sunday. Some teams will win and lose, some will enter a crisis and others will emerge from one.

"Then you get to autumn, then winter, and before you know it, it's May."

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