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Iniesta: Messi wasn´t angry at bench role

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta says Lionel Messi was not angry at being left out of the starting XI against Atletico Madrid.

Messi missed training on Friday in order to be with girlfriend Antonella Roccuzzo for the birth of his second son, Mateo.

Barca coach Luis Enrique opted to leave him among the substitutes at the Vicente Calderon until the hour mark, when the Argentina star came on for Ivan Rakitic before scoring the winner in the 2-1 victory.

Iniesta insists his team-mate had no qualms with the coach’s decision, telling reporters after the match: “He’s not angry at being left out. It’s normal after the journey and everything that’s happened over the last few days.

“Ultimately, it’s the work of everyone that helps the team go forward.

“Leo is a unique player, he makes a difference and today he did it again. I’m very happy for him and the team.

“We know that games here are always more difficult than normal. We matched the intensity of Atletico when we didn’t have the ball and with the ball we played very well.

“I think we played a very, very complete match.”

Sergi Roberto, who again filled in at right-back in place of the injured Dani Alves, was keen to hail the decisive nature of Messi’s appearance from the bench as Barca prepare to visit Roma in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.

“There is nobody like Leo. He’s a father again, he could not train with us, but today he decided the game,” Roberto told the club’s official website. 

“The team played very well the whole match and Leo was decisive when he came in.

“It’s true we have two tough away games but now we only have one. We’re thinking about Roma and the Champions League because it is always important to start off with a win.”

Sun 13 Sep, 2015
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