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Messi, Suarez on bench as Barca ring changes


Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona boss Luis Enrique left Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez on the bench for the visit of Alaves on Saturday as he made seven changes, but Neymar starts for the first time this season.

Messi had been an injury doubt due to a groin injury aggravated in Argentina’s 1-0 win over Uruguay last week.

Suarez was on the losing side in that clash and has been given a rest after his efforts in South American World Cup qualifying.

However, Neymar returns after missing Barca’s perfect start to the season when he led Brazil to Olympic gold.

Goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen and Paco Alcacer make their debuts as Enrique makes wholesale changes from the side that started a 1-0 win at Athletic Bilbao two weeks ago.

Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto were left out of the squad with one eye on Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Celtic, whilst Jordi Alba, Samuel Umtiti and Andres Iniesta join Messi and Suarez on the bench at the Camp Nou.

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