Lionel Messi to miss Manchester United and Chelsea matches

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Lionel Messi will not be involved in Barcelona’s pre-season tour of the United States and will subsequently miss his side’s showpiece friendly against Manchester United on Saturday.

The Argentina international will also miss the International Champions Cup matches against LA Galaxy on Tuesday night as well as the games against Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea on July 28 and Fiorentina five days later.

Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique told reporters on Monday that Messi is in need of a rest following his exploits at the Copa America in Chile this summer and issued an apology to fans.

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Neymar, Javier Mascherano, Dani Alves and Claudio Bravo will also miss Barcelona’s pre-season tour of the US for the same reason as Messi.

"They all need holidays," Luis Enrique was quoted as saying by ESPN. "We like fans to come and see Barca but those players that are here have great quality.

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"We are sorry for the fans but the season is very long."

On the four-time Ballon d’Or winner, Enrique added: "Messi's season is almost eternal and he needs to rest.”

Good news for Manchester United

It’s good news for Louis van Gaal, whose Manchester United side will stand a much better chance of beating the reigning European champions - and subsequently building some invaluable momentum ahead of the new Premier League campaign - without Messi and his high-profile South American teammates.

United will welcome Messi’s compatriots Angel di Maria and Marcos Rojo back into the fold this weekend, but neither player is expected to feature against Barcelona.

Big question marks hang over the future of Di Maria, who has been strongly linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain in recent weeks.

Manchester United want Pedro

It’s understood that Manchester United are looking at Barcelona forward Pedro as a potential replacement for the former Real Madrid star and it will be interesting to see if the Spanish World Cup winner features on Saturday.

Manchester United kicked off their pre-season tour with a 1-0 win over Mexican side Club America. Summer signing Morgan Schneiderlin scored the only goal of the game inside the opening five minutes: a header from a Juan Mata cross.

Schneiderlin’s fellow summer signings Bastian Schweinsteiger, Memphis Depay and Matteo Darmian also impressed and will be keen to catch the eye again against San Jose Earthquakes on Tuesday night.

United then take on Barcelona before their final ICC match against Paris Saint-Germain on July 29.

Manchester United fans: do you think your side will beat the Lionel Messi-less Barcelona this weekend? Have your say by posting a score prediction in the box below!

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