Barcelona midfielder Rakitic: Messi first to welcome and help me

Real Madrid news Lionel Messi wanted Paulo Dybala to snub Real Madrid

GETTYReal Madrid news Lionel Messi wanted Paulo Dybala to snub Real Madrid

He said this was in order to enable the Argentine striker stay fresh for his country ahead of the 2018 World Cup finals in Russian Federation.

Keeping the World Cup in mind, the President of Argentina's national football association, Claudio Tapia had a word with Leo and asked him to play fewer games with Barcelona to stay fatigue-free.

Argentina kickoff their World Cup campaign against European minnows Iceland on the 16 of June this year.

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The five-time Ballon d'Or victor has started in 33 of the team's total 39 games this season and Tapas revealed that he has spoken with Messi about playing less as the World Cup draws closer.

While Tapia obviously wants Messi in the best condition before the 2018 World Cup, Barcelona will field their star player at the business end of the season.

Valverde did leave Messi out of the starting line-up for the first time in the league against Espanyol earlier this month, but he did come on at half time in that 1-1 draw. "We talk to Messi to take care of himself and to play less in Barcelona", he added.

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"I hope that all the players will have the same form that they are in at the moment", Tapia said, as reported by Marca.

Messi has featured in 33 starts out of 39 games this season for the Catalan side, being left out of the match-day squad just three times. "Sergio Aguero is playing outstanding right now and Lionel Messi is always at the top of his game", said the Argentina football President. If it goes through the clash will see Messi come up against some of his Barca teammates Sergio Roberto, Gerard Pique among others.

However, such a fixture could prove controversial in Spain after increased tension between the central government and the region over its independence drive.

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