Lionel Messi was forced to watch from the sidelines as Barcelona drew 1-1 with Inter Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
The Argentine suffered an arm fracture in a La Liga match against Sevilla at the back end of last month and had not recovered sufficiently to play against Inter.
Ernesto Valverde confirmed after the game that he could not risk Messi in the fixture, a decision that the 31-year-old understood.
“It was a decision shared by the team,” Valverde said, per the Daily Mail. “We couldn’t risk Messi.
“We wanted him to train with the team but training isn’t the same as playing.
“We were careful in training, but we knew that today’s match would be like how it was with the intensity that there was.
“You do not know what can happen and we didn’t want to take risks. We talked to him about it and he understood.”
Messi still travelled for the game to show his support for his teammates.
And his actions a day after the match express why he is considered the greatest player of all time by many football fans.
Messi would have arrived back in Barcelona during the early hours of Wednesday morning.
According to Sport, all of Barcelona’s first team were given the day off to rest up and prepare for their match against Betis on Sunday.
That, presumably, would have extended to Messi – who also made the trip to Inter.
However, Messi decided to train alone at Ciutat Esportiva in a bid to be fully fit for their match against Betis.
Sport go on to write that it has been his desire to return which has been the key to his quick recovery.
That says so much about Messi. The Argentine clearly loves playing football and, despite having won it all in his career, he is still trying his utmost best to recover quickly and return to first team action.
Despite his desire to be fit for the match, Beits’ manager, Quique Setien, has advised Barcelona to keep him on the sideline for the clash.
“I think Messi should wait, I wouldn’t risk him,” Setien said in an interview with Esports RAC1, per Marca.
“There’s the international break after this game and he’ll have two more weeks.
“Any fall could provoke a serious problem that might have important consequences.
They’re doing well and there’s not a need to take risks. That said, I do like to see him on the pitch as he’s a joy to watch.”