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Lionel Messi Out of Squad for Barcelona vs. Inter Milan Champions League Match

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 07: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona reacts during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and RCD Mallorca at Camp Nou on December 07, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona have left Lionel Messi out of their travelling squad to face Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.

The Blaugrana announced the squad on Monday:

FC Barcelona @FCBarcelona

The 2️⃣0️⃣ summoned for the trip to Milan! https://t.co/CD2OmOf8Ij

The Catalan giants have already secured top spot in Group F. Barca sit on 11 points, four clear of Inter and Borussia Dortmund.

Messi has helped his side remain unbeaten in their five Champions League matches thus far, having contributed two goals and three assists.

While Ernesto Valverde has opted to include the likes of Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann, the Argentinian will be rested for the trip to the San Siro to keep him fresh for Barcelona's away clash with Real Sociedad in La Liga next Saturday.

Last Saturday, Messi bagged a sensational hat-trick as Barca thrashed Real Mallorca 5-2:

LaLiga @LaLigaEN

📽️ The highlights you've been waiting for... Messi scored a hat-trick and @LuisSuarez9 a ridiculous backheel (0:57) in a memorable @FCBarcelona win! 💙❤️ #BarçaRCDMallorca https://t.co/CH7mH5lVuj

Goal shared the numbers behind the 32-year-old's performance:

Goal @goal

Lionel Messi vs Mallorca in numbers: 106 touches 83.6% passing accuracy 59/73 passes completed 9/12 dribbles completed 4 chances created 4 shots on target 3 goals Some performance 😍 https://t.co/WfBQIcn3Qc

Barcelona face Real Madrid after their clash with Sociedad before finishing the year off at home to Alaves before the winter break.

The Catalan side are level on points with Madrid in La Liga, and with knockout football secured in the Champions League, it makes sense for them to prioritise their domestic duties.

Messi has 14 goals and eight assists for Barca in all competitions this season, and they'll hope by keeping him fresh this week he'll be able to make the difference in those final three matches of 2019.