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Messi starts, Aguero dropped on Guardiola’s Barca return


Barcelona (AFP) – Pep Guardiola dropped top scorer Sergio Aguero to the Manchester City bench on his return to Barcelona for Wednesday’s Champions League clash, whilst Lionel Messi will make his first start in a month for the Spanish giants at the Camp Nou.

Guardiola oversaw a glorious four-year spell in charge of Barca between 2008 and 2012, but lost on his only previous return as a visiting boss with Bayern Munich in 2015.

With Aguero sidelined, Kevin de Bruyne is expected to play an unfamiliar role in the middle of an attacking trio flanked by another former Barca player Nolito and Raheem Sterling.

Messi is joined by Luis Suarez and Neymar as Barca’s superstar front three start together for just the fourth time this season.

The Argentine needed just three minutes to net on his return from a groin injury as a substitute in Saturday’s 4-0 win over Deportivo la Coruna.

However, Barca suffered an injury setback as Sergi Roberto isn’t fit to take his place at right-back where Javier Mascherano or Samuel Umtiti will deputise.

Barca lead City by two points at the top of Champions League Group C after two games.

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