Barcelona team news: Messi rested in Champions League group stage finale

Ernesto Valverde has decided against using the Argentina superstar in the match against Sporting CP with his side already through to the next round

Lionel Messi will not start for Barcelona as the Liga leaders conclude their Champions League group stage campaign with a clash against Sporting CP at Camp Nou. 

The Argentine forward is on the bench for the Catalan club along with Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Sergio Busquets, Paulinho and Sergi Roberto as coach Ernesto Valverde picks a much-changed team for the visit of the Portuguese side.

Luis Suarez is in the side, the Uruguayan starting alongside Paco Alcacer and Aleix Vidal in attack.

In midfield, there is a rare start for Andre Gomes who is available again after injury, with Ivan Rakitic and Denis Suarez also included.

Gerard Pique and Thomas Vermaelen, currently Barca's only two fit centre-backs following the injuries to Javier Mascherano and Samuel Umtiti, are paired in defence, with Lucas Digne in for Jordi Alba (who is on the bench) on the left and Nelson Semedo at right-back.

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Barca vs Sporting

Jasper Cillessen starts in goal in place of Ter Stegen as Barca close out their campaign in Group D, with the Catalans virtually certain of top spot (they sit three points and six goals clear of Juventus in second) and Sporting still in contention for a spot in the last 16.

The Portuguese have seven points and are one behind second-placed Juventus, who are away to Olympiacos at the same time. The Italian champions are only one goal better off than Sporting, so a draw could see the Lisbon side through if the Bianconeri were to lose in Athens.