Messi, Busquets benched for Athletic Bilbao clash

Ernesto Valverde has named Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets among the substitutes for Barcelona's game against Athletic Bilbao.

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi   -  Getty Images

Lionel Messi has been dropped to the bench for Barcelona's LaLiga clash with Athletic Bilbao on Saturday. Possibly with an eye on the Champions League encounter with Tottenham on Wednesday, Barca boss Ernesto Valverde – going up against his former club – has decided to rest his star man, with Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele lining up alongside Luis Suarez in attack.

Midfielder Sergio Busquets has also been named among the substitutes, with Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic and Sergi Roberto the midfield three in the starting XI.

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Messi already has eight goals to his name this campaign, including a hat-trick in the Champions League win over PSV, although he could not prevent Barca slipping to a shock defeat at Leganes last time out.

Barca is looking for its first home league win since the 8-2 demolition of Huesca last month, having been held by Girona last Sunday.