Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has confirmed that he did not want to risk Lionel Messi against Inter Milan on Tuesday evening.
Messi returned to training earlier this week after being out through an arm injury suffered in the win over Sevilla last month.
Included in the squad for the trip to Italy, rumours spread about the Argentine’s potential inclusion in the starting eleven, but he was left out.
Barca, in truth, did not need Messi after a sublime display from the Catalan side.
Philippe Coutinho proved to be arguably the best player on the pitch and he was adamant to get his team on the score-sheet.
And, following the arrival of Malcom for Ousmane Dembele – Coutinho tricked his way past a few defenders before playing in his compatriot – who struck under Handanovic.
The lead didn’t last long though as Inter countered and a mix up in the Barca defence saw Icardi hammer the ball under ter-Stegen’s legs.
Messi, who will now return against Real Betis at the weekend, was left out due to Valverde not wanting to risk him.
“We didn’t want to take a risk with Leo.
“We were careful in training, but we knew that today’s match would be like how it was.”
The result sees Barca remain top on 10 points, whilst Inter sit second but have been closed down by Tottenham Hotspur, who came from behind to beat PSV Eindhoven.