FC Barcelona's unbeaten LaLiga run came to an abrupt end when Levante beat them 5-4 on Sunday night, a match superstar Lionel Messi did not feature in. Was the Argentine rested for the Catalan club's clash against Mamelodi Sundowns on Wednesday?
Click through the gallery above to see images from Barca's shock loss to Levante on Sunday!
The Blaugrana will play Mamelodi Sundowns in a friendly in the Nelson Mandela Centenary Cup in Johannesburg on Wednesday – a match superstar Lionel Messi appears to have been rested for.
It is believed that Barca will bring a full-strength team to South Africa for the game, including the likes of Messi, Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho and Andres Iniesta.
Messi, who has played a lot of football this season, was given the day off on Sunday for the Spanish giants' fixture against Levante, perhaps with the Sundowns clash in mind.
With the game being an obligation, even for superstars such as Messi, perhaps manager Ernesto Valverde thought allowing the Argentine a rest would be a good idea given that Barca will play their last league game of the season four days after their match in Mzansi.
The boss defended his decision to rest the 30-year-old after their loss to Levante, and stated that losing their winning streak is painful.
"We've played games without Messi before and come through them," he said, according to ESPN.
"We're all annoyed to lose. It's come in the 37th game, so it hurts to lose (the unbeaten season) now, but it could have come in the first, third or 14th game."
Valverde recently hinted that he will play two teams against Downs on Wednesday, suggesting that Messi might play at least 45 minutes in the fixture.
The Argentine has played 53 games this season, scoring 45 goals and assisting a further 18 strikes.
Do you think Valverde will regret resting the team's best player ahead of Barca's friendly against Downs? Let us know in the comments section below.