‘Messi must rest to avoid injuries’ – Rivaldo hoping Barcelona star can be talked into taking a break

Lionel Messi Barcelona 2020-21Getty

Lionel Messi will need to be rested by Barcelona at various points in the 2020-21 campaign, thinks Rivaldo, saying the Liga giants need to avoid running the risk of “unnecessary injuries” being picked up.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner is unlikely to remove himself from the fold, but Messi is now 33 years of age and may have to accept that his workload will be managed by others.

Rivaldo hopes Ronald Koeman and co can convince the Argentine that taking the odd breather will beneficial to him, with Barca requiring a club talisman to be at his peak when needed most.

He told Betfair: “Barcelona will return to action this Saturday at Getafe but Lionel Messi may be a little tired after his efforts for Argentina in this week's World Cup qualifiers, especially as he played at high altitude at Bolivia.

“It's not only a problem for Messi as many other players had to deal with it recently. But Messi should discuss with Ronald Koeman and the Barca doctors how to conserve his energy.

“I believe he wants to play this weekend, just like I did in similar situations during my career, so the decision could be more in Messi's hands than anyone else. If he decides to play it will be difficult to stop him.

“In an early phase of the season, however, it's important to avoid unnecessary injuries and that might mean sometimes he needs to rest. He could start on the bench but I'm sure that Messi will be determined to start, as he always wants to be out there.”

If Messi were to miss out, then Antoine Griezmann would be among those charged with the task of providing attacking inspiration.

The France international has struggled to deliver on expectations since moving to Camp Nou, complaining that he is being played out of position, but Rivaldo believes the World Cup winner can prove his worth in time.

The Brazilian added: “Antoine Griezmann is an excellent player who is just lacking confidence at the moment. I believe he's good enough to play for Barcelona and I don't think he's playing in the wrong position.

“For France, he's been playing for the same coach and in the same system for years. At Atleti, where he was the star player for several seasons, he was used to the club and the coach. Griezmann only needs time at Barcelona and then he can produce his best football again.”