Ronald Koeman could plunge Samuel Umtiti back into Barcelona action against Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo as the defender gets set for his first appearance of the season. 

The French World Cup winner has been blighted by knee problems, with Barcelona announcing his latest injury issue in early July, and he has not played since. 

However, Barca declared on Tuesday morning that Umtiti has been given the medical all-clear over his left knee, naming him in their squad for the clash with Juventus at Camp Nou that evening. 

That comes as a major boost to head coach Koeman, whose defensive options have been clipped by an injury suffered by Gerard Pique. 

Barcelona and Juventus are both assured of qualification for the last-16 stage ahead of their clash in the final round of Group G games, with Koeman's side three points clear of the Serie A champions thanks to their 2-0 win in Turin in October. 

Ronaldo missed that game after testing positive for COVID-19 but there was the tantalising prospect of the former Real Madrid star lining up against Lionel Messi, in a clash of the two preeminent players of their generation.

Andrea Pirlo dismissed the idea Barcelona are a club in crisis as he refused to rank Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo as a superior player to Lionel Messi before their Champions League showdown.

Juventus face a Barca side still reeling from last Saturday's shock 2-1 defeat to newly-promoted Cadiz in LaLiga which left them 12 points behind leaders Atletico Madrid after 10 games.

Ronald Koeman's side have, however, been flawless in the Champions League with five victories from five Group G matches, including a 2-0 win in Turin in October.

Juve's only win at Camp Nou in the Champions League came back in April 2003 (2-1), having failed to win on either of their last two trips there in the competition.

The Bianconeri have not scored in their last four games against Barca and Pirlo said they are not on the verge of meltdown, despite a domestic blip.

"I don't believe in the Barcelona crisis," Pirlo told a media conference. "The club has a new coach who is putting his ideas together. We know that he has a great team.

"They changed coaches but always go out on the pitch to play. They have to find the best solutions and put the players in the best conditions to perform at their best.

"But you play every three days and it's difficult for them, too. They are a great team and they will also recover in the league."

Messi and Ronaldo have previously met in five Champions League encounters, with Messi 3-0 up on the Portuguese superstar in terms of goals.

Tuesday's fixture will be their first duel in the competition since the May 2011 semi-final between Barcelona and Real Madrid and the first for Ronaldo as a Juve player.

On the eve of the match Barcelona head coach Koeman diplomatically refused to rank Messi as a superior player to Ronaldo, and his Juventus counterpart followed suit.

"Koeman is right to say that it is not fair to say who is better," Pirlo explained. "They have put on a show and have been doing it for 15 years. They have shared the Ballon d'Ors of the last 15 years.

"It is a shame to say if one is better than the other. They are phenomena that make millions of fans rejoice every time they take to the pitch, it is not fair to say who is better.

"We must thank them both because they are good for football.

"Messi had some problems this summer in wanting to stay in Barcelona. But in matches he has always proved his worth so more than on a technical level I think it's a mental problem.

"We don't want to get into problems, however, so let's leave Barcelona and Messi talking about these things."

Pirlo hinted veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is in line to feature against Barca, having returned to training following a thigh problem.

He said: "Gigi is better. He has recovered from his injury. He could be in the game tomorrow because he deserves such an important stage and could play."

Barcelona midfielder Miralem Pjanic is dissatisfied with his lack of playing time under Ronald Koeman and does not know what more he can do to earn a regular starting spot.

Pjanic has featured 11 times in all competitions since arriving at Camp Nou in June for an initial €60million, with Arthur moving in the opposite direction in a separate arrangement.

He has started only once in LaLiga, however, the Bosnia-Herzegovina international's other five appearances in the competition coming from the substitutes' bench.

And ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash against former side Juve, Pjanic conceded it is difficult to accept being used as a back-up player.

"Honestly, I don't understand the reason of this situation. I want to play more, I know I can give a lot," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"When the coach called me, I was always ready. I did well, I played good games. More than that, I do not know what I could do. I'm training, I'm ready.

"I am not satisfied and I cannot be satisfied. During my career I have never accepted the idea of not playing and I do not accept it now." 

Pjanic has been a regular in the Champions League and impressed in last week's win over Ferencvaros, his 134 attempted passes the most of any player in this year's competition.

But he was back among the substitutes for Saturday's LaLiga trip to Cadiz, playing only the last 13 minutes as Barca fell to a shock 2-1 loss.

"We will see what happens," he said. "I am ready, I train well and I wait, I cannot do anything else. It is a very delicate situation that does not suit me."

Pjanic now faces a reunion with Juventus, where he won four Serie A titles in four seasons before making the switch to Catalonia earlier this year.

He averaged 48.35 passes per 90 minutes in the opposition half in his final season in the division, second only to Napoli's Fabian Ruiz (50.64) among players to have featured at least 10 times.

The 30-year-old also represented Roma in Serie A for five seasons and said he misses life in Italy.

"I had a great time at both clubs. It's where I spent important seasons," he said. "My nine years in Italy was very nice. Honestly, I miss it. 

"Now I have this new challenge in the biggest club in the world. I wanted to try it, I am satisfied with the club and my team-mates.

"Juventus have remained in my heart - I follow them whenever I can. 

"The draw made me happy. Too bad I could not play in front of the fans in Turin, but there will be other opportunities. I wish Juventus the best, but tomorrow we want to win."

Juve lost the reverse meeting with Barca 2-0 in September and have won only one of their three previous away Champions League meetings at Camp Nou.

Ronald Koeman has once again criticised the scheduling of Barcelona's LaLiga fixtures after losing Ousmane Dembele to injury.

Dembele suffered an "elongation" in the hamstring of his right leg in Saturday's 2-1 loss to Cadiz and is facing another spell on the sidelines.

The France international joins a growing list of injured players at Barca, with Gerard Pique, Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto and Samuel Umtiti also ruled out.

Koeman is unsure how long the injury-plagued Dembele will be out but suggested this latest setback would have been avoided if his side were given a different kick-off slot.

"It's a shame to lose another player to injury," he said at a news conference ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash with Juventus.

"He noticed something in the second half when he came on. He thought it was nothing but it's a step back considering his history. It's one more reason why I complain about the match schedules.

"I don't know who sets the match schedules, but if you play in Europe on Tuesday, thinking about the Spanish teams, you don't get back from the prior until four in the morning.

"We have played five matches away from home at nine in the night. If you play Wednesday that gives you a day extra to recover, but not when you play on Tuesday."

Barca are through to the last 16 of the Champions League and will seal top spot in Group G if they avoid a three-goal loss, or any two-goal margin of defeat other than 2-0, against Juve.

A victory for the Catalan giants would make it just the eighth instance of a side winning all six group matches, Barca having previously achieved the feat once before in 2002-03.

But they have struggled domestically, a return of 14 points from 10 LaLiga games their lowest tally since 1987-88, and Koeman takes full responsibility for the poor return.

"It is always down to the coach," he said. "He makes the decisions and with his staff decides the team.

"We have to analyse the defeats. It is difficult losing to Cadiz compared to Atletico [Madrid]. You have to look at how they marked us, how we attacked.

"If I am annoyed after a game I will let the players know. I told them yesterday before training that we cannot accept the way we played in certain games.

"What we discuss stays in the dressing room, but there are things we need to improve on. There is not much time to train but we can still seek maximum performance.

"In general, we are a team that creates five or six clear chances every game. We have to find a balance to take advantage of this, while making fewer mistakes."

Tuesday's visit of Juventus could be the sixth occasion that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have met in the Champions League, and their first such meeting since May 2011.

Messi is 3-0 up on Ronaldo in terms of goals in those previous fixtures, but he has been left out of Barca's squad for their past two European matches.

Koeman did not confirm whether Messi would feature against Juve but acknowledged Barca will have to be alert to keep Ronaldo quiet.

"The most important thing is to fight for first place and Cristiano is still one of the best around," Koeman said. "He works every day to stay at the top.

"We have to respect him and must try to keep hold of the ball so he cannot hurt us.

"It is great that both players have maintained this level of performance for 15 years. For me they have been the two best players in the world in recent years.

"Their characteristics are very different but both are very capable of scoring goals, hat-tricks, winning titles - they have both done and won many things."

Philippe Coutinho accepts his performances for Barcelona have fallen short of expectations but insists he is mentally stronger than before.

Signed from Liverpool in 2018 in a deal potentially worth €160million (£142m), the Brazil international has not had the desired impact at Camp Nou.

Coutinho, who has scored 15 goals and provided nine assists in 60 LaLiga appearances, spent last season on loan at Bayern Munich and won the treble under Hansi Flick.

He returned to Barca for 2019-20 and has been directly involved in four goals in eight league outings, but the Catalans' inconsistent form has not helped him to thrive.

Coutinho started Saturday's shock 2-1 loss at Cadiz but managed only one shot and one key pass before being substituted for Ousmane Dembele at half-time.

With Dembele having suffered another hamstring injury, Coutinho is likely to start on Tuesday against Juventus as Barca look to secure top spot in their group.

While he accepts Barca are going through a transition period and that his own form has not been as hoped, Coutinho says he has become mentally and physically more robust.

"I know my form hasn't been what everyone expected," said the 28-year-old. "Barca have the attention of everyone and what I can say is that I've worked a lot more mentally to be well, and nowadays, I consider myself stronger in that sense.

"We're in a renewal process. We've changed coach, the players... all this forms part of the renewal process. You have to be patient and do everything to make it that things work as soon as possible.

"Whenever you lose an important game, the atmosphere is one of frustration. But I see everyone wanting to change this moment we're going through. Mentally, I'm stronger than before and the team looks eager to change this.

"I started to work in a different way. It was necessary to have more strength. And mentally, it's the same. There are things that are making me stronger and, physically and mentally, I'm doing a better job."

Barca face Juventus knowing they will finish top of the group if they avoid losing by three goals or more, or by a two-goal margin other than 2-0.

Ronald Koeman has demanded Barcelona's attitude in away matches improve after the they went down 2-1 to Cadiz in LaLiga.

Barca had lost just one of their previous eight fixtures in all competitions heading into Saturday's clash with Cadiz, who had already claimed the scalp of champions Real Madrid this term.

The only defeat in that run came at the hands of Atletico Madrid in Barca's last away outing in LaLiga, however, and their poor form on the road under Koeman continued as Alvaro Gimenez and veteran forward Alvaro Negredo clinched another famous win for Cadiz, who had just 17.9 per cent possession.

Cadiz moved up to fifth, while Barca sit 12 points behind leaders Atleti, who overcame Real Valladolid 2-0, with their tally of 14 points from 10 league matches their lowest since 1987-88 when adjusted to three points for a win.

Barca had 21 attempts, though only eight hit the target, and Koeman's side had to rely on an own goal from Pedro Alcala to get on the scoresheet.

The Blaugrana have failed to win four straight away LaLiga games (D1 L3) for the first time in a single season since 2007-08 under Frank Rijkaard.

The result was one that Koeman planted firmly on his players, insisting that Barca's attitude on their travels has not been up to scratch.

"We can't concede a second goal like that. It's a lack of concentration," Koeman told Movistar of Negredo's goal, which came when he charged down Marc-Andre ter Stegen after Clement Lenglet failed to control a throw-in.

"It's hard to explain what happened because we had a good week. I think the first half wasn't good. We lost a lot of balls. There was a little improvement in the second half.

"It's a giant step backwards to be able to compete for LaLiga. I'm very disappointed. There are many points dropped away. If we do not improve the attitude away from home, there is nothing else to say.

"We have ups and downs in our games, in our attitude, although in principle it is good, but there are moments that it is not.

"When we don't have the ball, we fail a lot. This is an attitude [problem] of the whole team."

Barca have conceded first in their past four away league matches, a trend which concerns Koeman, who claimed his team are letting in the types of goals his former clubs have not.

"In away games they put us behind and that's more complicated," he continued.

"We don't have spaces to play and also, and we have to know this, we conceded goals that I couldn't think of happening in other teams that I have coached.

"It is very difficult to explain, it may be because we lack concentration, we lacked aggressiveness, but it is not easy to explain how we conceded the second goal."

Next up for Koeman is a home clash with Juventus in the Champions League, though both sides have already qualified for the last 16.

Ronald Koeman has told Barcelona they must win all their remaining six games in 2020 to stay in the LaLiga title hunt. 

A rocky start to the campaign has followed the turbulent end to last season, which came to a head with the 8-2 thumping by Bayern Munich in the Champions League. 

Tension was then created when Lionel Messi tried to push through a close-season exit, while the effect of the pandemic has also hit Barcelona hard, causing off-field strife, with the early departure of president Josep Maria Bartomeu bringing club elections forward to January. 

A whole host of distractions appear to have taken a toll on Barcelona's first-team squad, with three defeats in their opening nine LaLiga games leaving coach Koeman with a tall order to reel in the early front-runners. 

Real Sociedad, Atletico Madrid and Villarreal are the surprise top three, with Real Madrid fourth and Barcelona seventh heading into the weekend. 

Koeman feels there is no room for error now, saying: "Atletico win their games, they concede few goals. The season is long, but we cannot lose more points and until the end of the year - we have to win all the games."

On Saturday they tackle a Cadiz side who sit sixth, a point ahead of Barcelona albeit having played two more games. 

Cadiz beat Real Madrid earlier this season, however, so Koeman is taking their threat seriously. 

Koeman is trying to see a bright future for his team, and despite stressing the need to string together wins, he would not go further into what a defeat to Cadiz might mean. 

"You have to answer when things happen, I prefer to think that you can win games and be positive," he said. 

Cadiz have taken 13 of their 15 points this season away from home, and their last league win anywhere came in October. It suggests Barcelona may be facing last season's Segunda Division runners-up at a good time. 

Cadiz have also not beaten Barcelona in LaLiga since May 1991, when Koeman lined up in a championship-winning Johan Cruyff team that suffered a 4-0 humiliation. 

Barcelona have won all six of the league games between the sides since, but head into this weekend on a rough run away from Camp Nou. 

Koeman's side have taken only one point from their last three LaLiga away games and are desperate to avoid a fourth such match without a victory. The club last endured such a dry run on the road when Frank Rijkaard's team went six without winning from March to May in 2008, with Pep Guardiola soon stepping in to shake up the side. 

"Normally we will have a lot of ball against a defence like that of Cadiz," Koeman said. 

"We will have to be patient. It seems to be more difficult for them to win at home, but they are achieving good results [overall this season], and it is a difficult ground where we must be focused to play at our level and score goals." 

If Messi finds the net, it will be his first goal against Cadiz in LaLiga. Barcelona's record goalscorer has scored against 37 of the 40 sides he has faced in the competition, with Xerez, Real Murcia and Cadiz being the exceptions. 

Messi has, admittedly, only played against Cadiz once previously.

Ronald Koeman has told Barcelona senior figures to stop making public declarations about the touchy subject of Lionel Messi's future.

The head coach spoke out after interim president Carlos Tusquets said this week the club should have sold Messi during the close season.

Candidates for the Barcelona presidency have also spoken at length about the 33-year-old Argentinian, but Koeman believes it is unhelpful for such figures to fuel speculation.

At the same time, Koeman said in his news conference on Friday that Barcelona supporters would always want to have the best players at the club, in response to Neymar's suggestion he wished to be reunited with Messi.

But when it comes to talking to the media about Messi, who is into the final year of his contract with his future plans unclear, Koeman says the time has come for the commentary coming out of Barcelona to stop.

"We know the situation with Leo," Koeman said. "If there is someone who can say, it is Leo himself, the comments from outside do not interest me.

"If we make them within the club they do not help us to have peace of mind to do our work. We cannot control the comments from the outside, from the inside it is different."

Barcelona play Cadiz in LaLiga on Saturday and are already well off the pace this season, with any distractions to team harmony considered highly unhelpful.

Asked about Tusquets' remarks, Koeman said: "I respect opinions, but Messi must decide his future and I don't like comments in that sense."

The message from Koeman was clear: that he will stay out of the business of the presidential candidates and they should avoid being disruptive to his job of running the team.

"I have already said several times that I am not worried because I do not know what will happen in the elections," he said. "When it is known, we will talk. Until then, the best thing I can do is focus on the games."

When asked about the possibility of Messi and Neymar playing on the same side again, Koeman expressed cautious enthusiasm.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward, who spent four years at Barcelona before Paris Saint-Germain bought him out of his contract in 2017 for €222million, said this week that he wished to play on the same team as Messi next year.

"I don't like to talk about individual cases, but as a cule [a Barcelona fanatic] you want to see the best in your team," Koeman said.

Ronald Koeman believes Antoine Griezmann is growing in confidence and the Barcelona head coach hopes the forward's run of form can continue.

Griezmann scored for the third straight game for the first time in his Barca career with the opener in Wednesday's 3-0 Champions League win at Ferencvaros.

Martin Braithwaite doubled the lead before Ousmane Dembele's penalty as Barca, without the rested Lionel Messi, won their first five group stage games in a Champions League campaign for the first time since 2002-03.

But Griezmann's form is a particular boost amid the club's inconsistencies in LaLiga and Koeman praised the forward.

"It is always a matter of trust of a player. As I said many times, Antoine has always worked hard to improve his game and effectiveness for the team," he said.

"Now the goals come in and he is convinced because he has quality. I think this is important for any player.

"I hope he can continue with this effectiveness he's having lately."

After Griezmann's brilliant flicked finish for the opener, Dembele set up Braithwaite before getting on the scoresheet himself.

No player had more shots than Dembele's five and Koeman said the forward's performance would give him selection headaches.

"Dembele is a great player. He has a lot of quality, one on one, he is very fast, he is effective and manages both legs," he said.

"The most important thing is he is physically very well. He is working well.

"We know there are different players at the front and it is difficult for the manager to decide when people like Dembele are playing at this level."

Sitting seventh in LaLiga, Barca are away to Cadiz on Saturday.

Barcelona coped admirably without Lionel Messi in their ranks as they eased to a 3-0 win over Ferencvaros in Wednesday's Champions League clash.

Messi was rested for the second consecutive Group G game due to concerns over his fitness and with Ronald Koeman's men already assured of a place in the last 16.

Barca eased to victory against the Hungarian champions thanks to goals from Antoine Griezmann, Martin Braithwaite and Ousmane Dembele inside the opening half an hour.

The LaLiga giants have now won nine of their last 10 Champions League games without Messi, drawing the other, since a 2-1 loss to Ajax in November 2013.

Braithwaite banging them in for Barca

Nobody has profited more from the recent rotation than Braithwaite, who has now started three straight games and scored in each of them, netting four in total.

In doing so, the Denmark international - who scored a brace in the 4-0 win over Dynamo Kiev last time out - became the first Barca player to score in his first two Champions League starts since David Villa in 2010.

Braithwaite rounded off a slick team move that consisted of 33 passes - the most in the build-up for a goal in the Champions League this season.

Pjanic pulls the strings

Holding midfielder Pjanic played a key part in that impressive goal and was heavily involved throughout a game that allowed him to showcase his passing talents.

The former Lyon, Roma and Juventus man attempted 134 passes at the Puskas Arena, which is his best tally in 77 appearances in the competition, and the most of any player in UEFA's flagship competition this term.

Pjanic completed 126 of those passes - 45 more than next best Oscar Mingueza, who has now helped Barca keep three clean sheets in his three senior appearances.

French forwards find scoring touch

Griezmann also appears to finally be finding some consistency for the club he joined from Atletico Madrid for a huge fee last year, elegantly backheeling in Jordi Alba's low cross to score for the third Barcelona game running for the first time.

That set the tone for what was to come, with Dembele rounding off the scoring from the penalty spot to make it three goals in four Champions League appearances in 2020-21 - already his joint-most in a single season, level with 2018-19.

It meant the simplest of victories in Budapest for Koeman's men, who have won their opening five group fixtures for the first time since 2002-03 under Louis van Gaal.

The LaLiga side's return of 16 goals is their most in a group-stage campaign since 2016-17 when they scored 20 goals across their six matches.

Ronald Koeman claimed he has seen a "big change" in his Barcelona players compared to the way they started the season in LaLiga.

The Blaugrana made it five wins out of five Champions League matches with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Ferencvaros in Champions League Group G on Wednesday.

Barca will have the chance to win all six of their group games for the first time since the 2002-03 campaign when they face Juventus at Camp Nou next Tuesday.

Koeman's side have struggled in LaLiga this season, though, and are 12 points behind leaders Real Sociedad – albeit with two games in hand – after losing three and drawing two of their opening nine games.

The Dutchman, however, suggested there has been a significant difference in the performances produced by his players in recent weeks.

It was emphasised by Barcelona's stylish second goal, scored by Martin Braithwaite, which featured a sequence of 33 consecutive passes in the build-up – the most for a goal scored in the Champions League this season.

"Lately, we have more effectiveness," Koeman said in a post-match media conference.

"In defence we can still improve, but we are on the right track and hopefully we can continue like this.

"The difference is the team has been effective in the games. It is quite a big change compared to the beginning of the season. The hunger that we have, you have to prove it.

"The most important thing is to get to the last 16 of the Champions League, but if you win six out of six it would be a historic milestone."

Barcelona's win in Hungary was secured thanks to additional goals from Antoine Griezmann and fellow France international Ousmane Dembele, who netted from the penalty spot.

Koeman was particularly impressed with an eye-catching performance from Dembele.

The 23-year-old was a menacing presence on the left flank and attempted five shots, more than any other Barca player.

"Dembele is a great player," added the Barcelona head coach.

"He is very fast, he plays with both legs and is physically very well. For the coach it is difficult to make decisions when people like Dembele are playing as they are.

"There is a lot of competition in attack. You can see that we have a good squad and we have been able to let several players rest.

"Those who have played have shown that there is competition, and want to play well and create chances."

Antoine Griezmann continued his recent goalscoring form as Barcelona eased to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Ferencvaros in Champions League Group G on Wednesday.

France striker Griezmann struck early on as he netted in three consecutive games for the first time in a Barca shirt.

Martin Braithwaite and Ousmane Dembele were also on the scoresheet for Barcelona, who had already qualified for the competition's knockout phase.

The victory also ensured Barca won their first five Champions League group stage games for the first time since the 2002-03 campaign and they lead second-placed Juventus by three points with one match remaining.

Lionel Messi was rested by Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman for the trip to Hungary but without the influential Argentina international his side played some superb football.

Barcelona's opener came via Griezmann in the 14th minute, the forward elegantly backheeling in Jordi Alba's low cross.

Koeman's side increased their advantage moments later when Dembele unlocked the Ferencvaros defence with a jinking run before his cross was met by the sliding boot of Braithwaite to complete a 33-pass move.

The lively Braithwaite then won a penalty just before the half-hour after he went down following a slightly mistimed tackle by Abraham Frimpong.

Dembele confidently stepped up and sent Ferencvaros goalkeeper Denes Dibusz the wrong way with a clinical spot-kick.

Braithwaite tamely shot wide from a good position before the half-time break before Barcelona started to take things easy in the second half.

Dembele burst into life when he rampaged forward on a fine solo run, only to see his shot fly into the side netting.

The France forward carried Barca's main threat in the remainder of the contest and twice brought smart saves out of Dibusz late in the game, in a stylish win.

Lionel Messi should have the yellow card he was shown for his on-pitch tribute to Diego Maradona rescinded, according to Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman.

Former Barca and Argentina great Maradona died last week at the age of 60 and was honoured before all LaLiga matches over the weekend.

Messi scored his side's fourth goal in fine style during Sunday's 4-0 home win over Osasuna.

Afterwards, he removed his Barca shirt to reveal a Newell's Old Boys jersey emblazoned with Maradona's famous number 10.

He then pointedly saluted the sky in honour of his compatriot, who spent a season towards the end of his career with Newell's - the club where Messi began his youth career.

Following the victory, Koeman told the media how impressed he was both with his captain's finish and with the way he chose to pay his respects to his compatriot.

The yellow card shown to Messi, which regulations state will come with a €3,000 fine for Barca, has attracted attention after the match and Koeman believes it should be overturned.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday's away Champions League match against Ferencvaros, for which Messi will be rested, Koeman said: "We know that there is a rule [relating to the award of] the yellow card.

"But we also know that it was his dedication to Maradona when he took off his shirt. 

"It's not my decision, but for me I would take it off."

Barca are hopeful the yellow card decision will be changed.

According to Sport, they will use the precedent of Sergio Ramos having a booking overturned on sentimental grounds in 2007 after he paid tribute to Sevilla star Antonio Puerta to argue their case.

Barcelona have won all of their previous five competitive meetings with Hungarian sides and dominated the Camp Nou fixture against Ferencvaros in a 5-1 triumph last month.

Messi opened the scoring with a penalty in that game and also laid on a late assist for Ousmane Dembele.

However, he will now sit out of a second straight Champions League match, having also been rested for the 4-0 win over Dynamo Kiev last time out in the competition.

Barca have fared surprisingly well without Messi, winning eight of their last nine Champions League games that he missed and drawing the other since losing to Ajax in 2013, according to Opta statistics.

The club are looking to win each of their first five UEFA Champions League group stage games for the first time since the 2002-03 campaign.

Lionel Messi will miss a second successive Champions League match after Ronald Koeman took the opportunity to rest him once again.

Messi's absence is not an issue Barca have often had to deal with down the years in the Champions League, particularly in recent times – the 4-0 win over Dynamo Kiev last time out was only the fourth in 43 matches in the competition that he has not featured in.

Nevertheless, one would expect Barca to have enough firepower to see off their hosts on Wednesday and they are undefeated in their previous nine Champions League games without Messi since a 2-1 loss to Ajax in November 2013.

Barca crushed the Hungarian champions 5-1 at Camp Nou in October and are already assured of a place in the next round having won all of their first four matches in Group G.

As such, Koeman wants to take every opportunity to rest his star man in what is proving a hectic season.

"I understand that it is not normal, but in the calendar this season there were two moments for Leo Messi to rest, Kiev and tomorrow, because we are already qualified," Koeman told reporters on Tuesday.

"It allows me to give opportunities to other players and the Saturday games in the league are very important. From tomorrow there is no more [chance] to rest him.

"Leo is always Leo. He is very important in our attack. When the ball reaches him, it may be that at the beginning of the season it has cost him a little [in terms of fatigue]. He may not score 30 goals per season, but he is working well and it is very important in our attack.

"He always likes to play and it's good that he has this mentality, but I spoke with him and asked him, but the final decision is up to the coach.

"I wanted to give him rest in Kiev and tomorrow. For the rest of the season he may not get any more rest because we play every three days."

Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Philippe Coutinho are two others who have been afforded a rest and left out of the travelling party.

Messi is expected to return for Barca's final group match next week against Juventus and long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

Former Barcelona coach Quique Setien claims the club still have not compensated him for his early dismissal, or even called to inform of his contract termination three months on.

Setien arrived at Barca in January as Ernesto Valverde's replacement, signing on a contract until 2022 as the club hoped to reconnect with their philosophy of exciting, possession-based football.

However, Setien's time at Barca was fraught with problems, from an apparently strained relationship with talisman Lionel Messi that reportedly spread to other members of the squad, to underwhelming results and performances on the pitch.

The culmination of numerous issues at the club was the 8-2 humiliation by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-final, a result that contributed to Messi's desire to leave and effectively spelled the end for Setien in August.

He was swiftly replaced by Ronald Koeman, who himself is struggling to oversee an improvement, though Setien opened legal proceedings against Barca the following month as he alleged that he and his coaching staff were only given official notification of their contract terminations in September via Burofax.

More than three months on from his initial dismissal and Setien is claiming Barca still have not spoken to him directly about his sacking or paid compensation, though his staff did reach agreements with the club in the past week.

"Barca have not compensated me, nor have they offered me anything," Setien told COPE's El Partidazo show. "They have not even called me to tell me that I am dismissed.

"It's evident that the club is going through a worrying moment, something that when you arrive is clearly perceived and which directly affects sports performance.

"You always believe that from within you may be able to help solve it, but for us, despite putting everything on our side, it has been impossible."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.