Featured Matches
Previous
Manchester City
Liverpool
(1) 2
(3) 2
FT-Pens
Game Details
Bayern Munich
Guadalajara
1
0
FT
Game Details
AS Trencin
Hull City
0
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Mlada Boleslav
Lyon
1
4
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Real Sociedad
Aberdeen
2
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Shakhter Karagandy
Hajduk Split
4
2
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Astana 1964
AIK Solna
1
1
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Neftchi Baku PFC
Chikhura Sachkhere
0
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Omonia Nicosia
Metalurg
3
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
FK Astra Giurgiu
Liberec
3
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Ruch Chorzow
Esbjerg FB
0
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Dinamo Moscow
Hapoel Kiryat Shmona
1
1
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Elfsborg
FH Hafnarfjordur
4
1
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Karabükspor
Rosenborg
0
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Mlada Boleslav
Lyon
1
4
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
AS Trencin
Hull City
0
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Brommapojkarna
Torino
0
3
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
PSV Eindhoven
St. Pölten
1
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Dinamo Minsk
CFR Cluj-Napoca
1
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
IFK Goteborg
Rio Ave
0
1
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
FC Zorya Luhansk
Molde
1
1
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
BSC Young Boys
Ermis Aradippou
1
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
RNK Split
FC Chornomorets Odessa
2
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
S.V. Zulte Waregem
Shakhter Soligorsk
2
5
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Petrolul Ploiesti
Viktoria Plzen
1
1
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Víkingur Gøta
Rijeka
1
5
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Mainz
Asteras Tripolis
1
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Diosgyor VTK
Kuban Krasnodar
1
5
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Stjarnan
Lech Poznan
1
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
FK Sarajevo
Atromitos
1
2
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Real Sociedad
Aberdeen
2
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Club Brugge
Brøndby
3
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
St Johnstone
FC Spartak Trnava
1
2
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
SV Grödig Amateure
Zimbru Chisinau
1
2
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Bayern Munich
Guadalajara
1
0
FT
Game Details
Londrina
Santos FC
2
1
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Coritiba FBC
Paysandu SC
2
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Unión Comercio
Sport Huancayo
3
0
FT
Game Details
Melgar
San Martin
2
1
FT
Game Details
Sporting Cristal
León de Huánuco
4
0
FT
Game Details
Sky Blue FC
Western New York Flash
1
0
FT
Game Details
Next
Aug 19, 2013

Lionel Messi substitution 'part of plan'

New Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino said his surprise substitution of Leo Messi during Sunday’s 7-0 victory over Levante in the Primera Division opener was part of a plan to ensure that he manages his fitness during the season.

• Ledwith: Little to learn
• Ball: A stroll for Barca

Messi was keen to play every minute of every game under previous bosses Josep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova, but was withdrawn with 20 minutes remaining and replaced by Andres Iniesta.

In quotes reported by Barca's official website, Martino told reporters the change had been agreed in advance and was part of a plan to keep his star man in top condition for more important matches later in the campaign.

“We have talked to Messi from the beginning,” he explained. “The season is long, and this way he can rest if he does not play every minute in a couple of matches.

“We came to an agreement quickly. Agreeing on substitutions beforehand is a complicated matter. No one would ever take Messi out of a match if the teams are evenly matched. But it can be done in matches where we take a big lead. This way, he can preserve his fitness.”

Messi scored twice against a woeful Levante, but his most telling contribution may have been to pressurise defender David Navarro and steal the ball in the build-up to Barca’s third goal, tapped in by Dani Alves with just 23 minutes gone.

Martino has said he wants Barca to rediscover the high-tempo pressing that Guardiola instilled in the team, and praised Messi for leading this by defending from the front.

“When Messi starts the pressure, our opponents see that he is trying to win possession back,” the former Newell’s Old Boys boss said. “Hopefully he can do this on a regular basis and his team-mates follow him.

"These ideas are not new for the players, they were just saved and stored away. One of the aspects we have insisted on the most is pressure. I am very satisfied.”

Martino left €57 million summer signing Neymar on the bench -- a decision that was part of a plan to gradually introduce the Brazilian, who lost weight during the summer following a tonsil operation, to the starting XI.

“Everyone wants to see Neymar and Messi play together,” he added. “I want him to adapt to the team quickly, but I do not want to force anything. We will see his best form shortly. This is how I see it. It is my decision.”

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.