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Messi cannot accept squad rotation - Belletti

The former Barcelona full-back says the attacker has never liked being left among the substitutes.

Messi was controversially consigned to the bench recently by coach Luis Enrique.
Messi was controversially consigned to the bench recently by coach Luis Enrique.

LIONEL MESSI HAS never been able to accept the need for squad rotation, according to former Barcelona full-back Juliano Belletti.

Fresh speculation has emerged this week about the attacker’s future after he started on the bench for the 1-0 defeat to Real Sociedad last weekend.

The Argentina star has grown frustrated with life under Luis Enrique and president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who has brought forward club elections to this year, is reportedly prepared to wield the axe in order to placate the forward.

Belletti, who scored the winning goal in the 2006 Champions League final, says Messi has never accepted being left out of the starting line-up — even though it is a vital part of managing a squad in modern football.

“Messi doesn’t like being on the bench,” he said as a pundit on Arena SporTV. “He doesn’t accept rotation, which, in the long term, is important.

“When I was at Barcelona, I saw him have discussions with the coaching staff because he didn’t want to miss a game.”

Belletti does feel, however, that Messi has earned the right to certain “privileges” at the club given the enormous success he has helped to bring to Camp Nou.

“The Barcelona of today is Messi. If they’ve won so many titles, it was because of the high standards Messi offered. It seems normal to me that he’d have certain privileges,” he added.

“If he wants to play, to keep a calm atmosphere, you should let him play.”

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