FC Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde may claim his side are only in Saudi Arabia for money but he’ll still field a strong line-up when they face Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup semi-finals on Thursday.
Messi is expected to line up again, along with in-form Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann and Barca’s superstars, despite Valverde showing disdain for the competition which was previously played in Spain in pre-season as a one-off final.
“The bottom line is football has become a business and as a business it looks for income,” Valverde said.
“That’s the reason we’re all here. It’s a completely different format to what we’re used to. It was always the first title and the opener of the season and to me that seemed fine.
“It’s been changed and let’s see, it will be judged once it has happened.
“It’s interesting, with four good teams, but from a sporting point of view, I’m not sure.”
Barca, who are unbeaten in their past 12 matches, will be without first-choice goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but Atletico have more injury issues.
Diego Simeone’s side will be without Stefan Savic and Diego Costa, while skipper Koko is also in doubt.