Should Lionel Messi’s illness, which kept him out of Saturday’s clash with Malaga, prevent him boarding a plane to Glasgow tomorrow, Brendan Rodgers will take some grain of comfort. The Argentine was the principle actor in the destruction of Celtic at the Camp Nou two months ago.
Since then Celtic have more than earned the Champions League credit which has come their way. Meritocratic draws against Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach have given the club two points more than some observers predicted for them when the group stage was drawn in August.
Without Messi, Barcelona remain a potent force, but arguably the greatest player to ever kick a ball changes the dimension of the challenge enormously. While it’s likely a few days rest would be enough for Messi to push himself, if necessary, manager Luis Enrique may be inclined not to take chances with his star asset ahead of a huge week for the Catalans.
After Celtic they are away to Real Sociedad, who are only four points behind in La Liga, while the following weekend they have the chance to close the four point gap at the top when Real Madrid visit.
So if you meet Luis around town this week, tell him he’d be better to rest Leo for the important La Liga clashes.