Messi out of Barcelona squad for Inter clash

Barcelona has left Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique out of its squad for Tuesday's Champions League clash with Inter in San Siro.

Lionel Messi will not feature against Inter Milan with Barcelona having already secured a last-16 spot.   -  Getty Images

Lionel Messi has been left out of Barcelona's squad for the final Champions League group stage match against Inter.

Messi endured an injury-hit start to 2019-20, but has shown little sign of rustiness since returning to full fitness, and followed up his record sixth Ballon d'Or win with a hat-trick in Barca's 5-2 win over Real Mallorca on Saturday.

However, with Barca's place in the last-16 already secured thanks to a 3-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund in ts previous Group F fixture, it appears Ernesto Valverde has decided to rest Messi for the trip to Milan.

Read: Messi breaks Champions League record in 700th Barcelona appearance

After Tuesday's match at San Siro, Barca faces Real Sociedad before taking on Real Madrid in the rearranged Clasico on December 18, with another league match against Deportivo Alaves capping off 2019 three days later.

Messi is not the only star name to be left out of Barca's squad, with Gerard Pique also missing, while Jordi Alba and Nelson Semedo continue their respective recoveries from hamstring and calf problems. Arthur and Ousmane Dembele are absent through injury as well.

Luis Suarez, who scored both goals in Barca's 2-1 win over Inter in October, is included within the 20-man squad, as is Antoine Griezmann.

While Barca's place in the knockouts is secured, Inter needs to at least match Dortmund's result against Slavia Prague to guarantee progression.

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