Luis Enrique is adamant Lionel Messi will not be rushed back from injury – by Barcelona or Argentina.
Messi is sidelined with a knee injury sustained against Las Palmas last month and is not expected to return for at least another four weeks.
There have been suggestions Argentina, who have failed to win either of their opening two World Cup qualifiers, are desperate for him to be available for the crunch clash with Brazil on November 13 while Barca meet Real Madrid in the season’s first Clasico nine days later.
Barca coach Luis Enrique is keen, however, for the 28-year-old to come back only when he is ready.
“I want him to recover properly, not for him to be ready for any particular game, just get back to 100 per cent fitness,” he said ahead of Saturday’s game with Rayo Vallecano at Camp Nou.
“I am sure the Argentinian Football Association and Barcelona are primarily concerned with Messi being fit. I am sure [Argentina coach] Tata Martino wants him to fully recover. We are thinking of the best interests of Messi himself.”
Barca won the corresponding fixture against Rayo last season 6-1 – a game which featured a Messi hat-trick – but Luis Enrique is not expecting an easy evening.
He added: “What we know is Rayo will present the same problems as they did last season, they don’t let you relax for a single moment on the ball. We found that last season, both home and away.
“In football, easy games don’t happen. That’s not the way the game works.”