Lionel Messi will not play in FC Barcelona’s friendly against Manchester United on Saturday night at FedEx Field.
Steven Goff reports that the World Player of the Year's omission did not come as a surprise; Barcelona had said all along that Messi would be given time off following his participation with Argentina’s national team in the Copa America this month. But with Argentina’s unexpected elimination in the quarterfinals, speculation grew that Messi would rejoin Barcelona in time for the preseason U.S. tour, which also includes matches against Mexican clubs Chivas and Club America in Miami and Dallas, respectively.
(The 24-year-old Messi, who in January won his second straight Ballon d'Or World Player of the Year award, played in 66 games within the last year and needs a rest, no doubt.)
Top Barca players on the trip include goalkeeper Victor Valdes, defender Gerard Pique, midfielders Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Sergio Busquets; and forwards David Villa and Pedro.