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Lionel Messi set to sit out Leganes game as Barcelona aim to equal LaLiga record

Barca are out to extend their unbeaten run to 38 matches.

Barcelona will aim to equal a LaLiga record without talisman Lionel Messi with head coach Ernesto Valverde set to rest the Argentinian forward for Saturday’s clash against Leganes.

The Catalan club are currently on a 37-match unbeaten streak in the league and if they avoid defeat to 14th-placed Los Pepineros at the Nou Camp then Barca will match Real Sociedad’s 38-game record they achieved in 1980.

Barcelona remain on course for the treble as they lead second-placed Atletico Madrid by nine points in the LaLiga table, have set up a Copa del Rey final with Sevilla and have one foot in the Champions League semi-finals following Wednesday’s comfortable 4-1 win over Roma.

With the return leg in Rome on Tuesday, Valverde has elected to rotate his squad with Messi among those set to miss out on domestic action along with Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta, but the Barcelona boss is not underestimating his opponents.

The 54-year-old, who did not confirm whether Messi will be left out, told fcbarcelona.com: “I’ve been waiting for Leganes for the whole season. A team with enthusiasm, they play very well. It will be a tough match.

“We want to get the three points. We need 15 to be champions. We are in a team that is used to winning, and obliged to win.

“Now we have the best, the most beautiful, but also the most difficult games ahead. The supporters at the Camp Nou are always with us, tomorrow I’m sure they will also respond.”

Leganes have lost all three meetings with Barcelona but head coach Asier Garitano remains optimistic, despite facing a Barcelona side that have not tasted defeat in LaLiga this season.

He told deportivoleganes.com: “Winning at the Camp Nou is a difficult challenge, but also a beautiful one and we are going to try it.

“We need to make a great game and hope the things that happen in the game will be in our favour. We have to go for it, knowing the difficulty, which is great, but the challenge is nice, let’s see if we can compete there.

“I think they are very strong as well, but I think they are going to change players, they have a lot of games and this is a good match for them to be able to change players.”

Alex Szymanowski and Martin Mantovani will miss the clash through injury, while Diego Rico is suspended.

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