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Barcelona are set to rest Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto'o and Xavi for their Primera Liga clash at Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.
Messi has yet to complete 90 minutes since returning from injury earlier this month and Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard says he wants to protect the young winger Tuesday night's Champions League semi-final second leg with Manchester United at Old Trafford.

"Many people believe Messi is ready to play 90 minutes, but unfortunately that is not the case," he said on Friday.

"He has already had a serious injury on two occasions and we have to watch and protect him.

"I am not talking as the Barcelona coach now, but as a football fan, because I would like to see Messi playing for many years to come."

Xavi and Eto'o are not injured, but will be rested to avoid fatigue.

However, the Dutch coach denied reserving his players for Tuesday's crucial Champions League second leg in Manchester.

Rijkaard added: "It's a moment for regaining strength, they need a rest.

"It's nothing to do with that. Before thinking about the result, I think of my players' health."

Captain Carles Puyol will return to the Barcelona side in defence after missing Wednesday's Champions League first leg through suspension.

Oleguer and Edmilson are also back after recovering from injury.

Despite his claims that he is not reserving players for the Champions League, Rijkaard also left Messi, Deco, Thierry Henry, Eric Abidal, Rafael Marquez and Andres Iniesta on the bench for last week's derby match against Espanyol, which took place four days before the game against United.

Barcelona have slipped to third place in the Primera Liga following three straight draws and now have virtually no chance of catching leaders Real Madrid.

The Catalans are 11 points behind their bitter rivals with just five games remaining, but Rijkaard says he wants his side to be professional in the last few matches.

"All of the league games are important. We must give a good impression of ourselves and complete the job," he said.

Barcelona have failed to score in any of their past three home matches and the Dutchman claims he is baffled by the team's recent goal drought.

"It's strange, but the important thing is that we are creating chances, because the ball will (eventually) go in," he said.

While Barcelona continue to stumble in the league, Deportivo La Coruna are enjoying something of a purple patch.

The Galician side are now safe from relegation and are up to eighth place in the table following four consecutive victories.

Centre-back Alberto Lopo hopes the Galicians can secure a fifth straight win when they face Barcelona at Riazor on Saturday.

"We are not worrying about our rivals, we are just concentrating on our own game. Things are going well for us at the moment and we want to continue along those lines," he said on Thursday.

Antonio Barragan is sidelined for six to eight months with a serious knee injury, while Sergio Gonzalez misses out through suspension.

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yangch0000 said:
just like milan last year, i dun like this.
Not really
We can switch a few players in and out. Giggsy;Nani & Anderson all played little or no part on Wed so we can put them in and rest who-ever.

Doesn't bother me. I've got 100% faith in our team and players. They can do it. We've got to believe in them and show them support come Tuesday evening.

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Well a loss on Saturday really just makes it bad after having such an awsome season, comming form behind to Arsenal and then just to bottle it...West Ham are a boogy team so if people think oh yeah we only got West Ham at home we will win it 100% - you are thinking very wrong and that game is right after a midweek Barca game whereas West Ham will have a full weeks rest...they did the double over us last season and has beaten us 2-1 already this season so leaving it for a win vs West Ham and Wigan would be equally tough and also remember Wigan did draw at Stamford Bridge so anything is possible when we go to JJB Stadium...I say we should go with a very strong team and go their for a win and rap up the title and then just concentrate on the CL

Many players have said that Fergie's main ambition is the CL and the EPL is 2nd priority and maybe that is why he came out and said its more important to win on Tuesday...maybe because we won the EPL last season it isn't so much of a priority but I think we should for for both and both should be no1 priority because that is how great sides are remeberd - having both domestic and european success.

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How nice of Laporta and Rijkaard to let those three start their golf season early this year. When they lose this game to Deportivo they are definitly out of the La Liga title and when they come to OT they are out of Champions League as well. No titles for Barcelona and no job for Frank Rijkaard.

Life is sometimes peculiar.
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