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Barcelona winning without Messi is key as he may not be there next season, says Rivaldo

The former Blaugrana star was pleased to see Ronald Koeman’s side ease past Dynamo Kiev while handing the Argentine superstar a well-earned rest

Rivaldo was pleased to see Barcelona ease to a 4-1 win over Dynamo Kiev without Lionel Messi in their side, with the Blaugrana legend warning that the Argentine icon may soon be gone for good.

Ronald Koeman has given a talismanic part of his plans regular rests over recent weeks. That approach is intended to keep the six-time Ballon d’Or winner fresh and firing for when he is needed most.

Messi’s absence is also offering Barca an insight into what life may look like if the all-time great were to walk away from Camp Nou.

That could happen in 2021, with the South American superstar free to discuss pre-contract terms with interested parties from January as he heads towards free agency.

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Rivaldo has stated in the past that he believes the 33-year-old legend can be convinced to stay put, but the Brazilian has changed his tune of late and now fears a parting of ways could be on the cards.

With that in mind, he says it is imperative that Barca start learning how to win without looking to their inspirational captain for moments of match-altering brilliance.

“Barcelona earned a good away win in the Champions League in Ukraine with a solid performance despite Lionel Messi’s absence and that is good news for the group,” Rivaldo told Betfair.

“The team played a better match against Dynamo Kiev this time than when they hosted them at Camp Nou, so it was a result and performance positive for two reasons: Messi managed to rest after international commitments and other players like Antoine Griezmann or Martin Braithwaite had the chance to step up.

“In other parts of the season – and probably next season – Messi might not be around and other players will need to show up, so it’s good for the team to start getting used to it and at the same time gain some confidence for themselves without their main star on the pitch.

“Naturally, I’m sure Ronald Koeman only left Messi out of this game to rest him because it wasn’t a decisive match as Barcelona had almost qualified. If I was Barcelona manager I would like to have Messi on the pitch all the time.”

Speculation continues to suggest that Manchester City may make an approach for Messi in the New Year, with former Barca boss Pep Guardiola committing to a new deal at Etihad Stadium.

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