Lionel Messi and Frenkie de Jong have been rested by Ronald Koeman for Barcelona’s upcoming Champions League clash in Ukraine against Dynamo Kiev.
With Barca top of Group G following three wins to begin their European campaign, Koeman has opted to leave Messi and De Jong out of the travelling squad, with the Catalan club also without Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto after the pair sustained serious injuries in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid in La Liga.
Only three recognised defenders are in the squad for Tuesday’s Champions League tie, and Koeman said FIFA and UEFA must rethink the schedule as it is “impossible” to keep players fit.
“Sometimes you need to protect the players because the game calendar is incredible,” Koeman said.
“We thought it was a good moment to rest Leo and Frenkie as most of our players have played every minute with us and then they played with the national teams and Messi had a difficult trip back from South America (after playing for Argentina).”
He added: “It’s impossible to keep the players fit.
“Look at the example of Sergi Roberto, the reason he got injured was because of playing too many games. Everybody knows this but still we need to continue to play this number of games, it’s incredible.
“It’s time for UEFA, FIFA to think about what they are doing to footballers, the amount of games they need to play is crazy.”