Ernesto Valverde says Lionel Messi’s Argentina return was inevitable

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has said that Lionel Messi’s return to the Argentina fold was inevitable despite his recent reluctance to play for the national team. The Blaugrana star made himself unavailable for the South American nation shortly after a disappointing summer World Cup where they were ousted at the round of 16 stage.

Thereafter, there had been concerns whether Messi would have any intention of returning to Argentine duty but he has eventually ended the speculation by making a comeback for the forthcoming international friendlies. When asked on the same, Valverde admitted that there were no surprises and the question would rather have been presented to Lionel Scaloni, who is currently the head coach of Argentina. He said: "It's a question that concerns the Argentine coach. Messi's call, he escapes from my field. That Leo was going to return, we all knew, sooner or later. We see it naturally and I do not care at all, it's no change from other years."

“Meanwhile, Valverde stressed that he has no plans of selecting a weakened side for the forthcoming league clash“ against struggling Raye Vallecano despite the midweek Champions League clash against Lyon, he added: "Rayo are in a difficult situation and teams near the bottom can pick up points unexpectedly at the end of the season. What is clear is that tomorrow's game is not going to be suspended, we are going to play it, the three “points tomorrow are important“."

Barcelona are currently holding a comfortable seven-point gap over Atletico Madrid at the top of the league standings but Valverde is determined to maintain the advantage with the strongest team possible. Elsewhere, Barcelona face Lyon on Wednesday night in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 and they are favourites to progress after the 0-0 scoreline on the road last month.