Barcelona plan leaked to Cristiano Ronaldo

BARCELONA have agreed to rest Lionel Messi as the World Cup gets closer – but Cristiano Ronaldo has got wind of the plan.

The Argentine superstar has been in his usual imperious form this season.

He’s bagged an impressive 35 goals in 43 games with Barca cruising at the top of La Liga.

However, with the sheer volume of games he’s played this term, Messi is now feeling the strain.

He missed Argentina’s 2-0 victory over Italy on Friday with a hamstring complaint.

“I have been suffering from this hamstring injury for some time,” Messi told TyC Sports before the game.

“I always want to play, but the road to the World Cup is still long.

“We decided to wait for this game [against Italy] to rest but I’m optimistic about playing against Spain.”

Spanish media outlet Diario Gol say Messi has already spoken to Ernesto Valverde about limiting his game time given that La Liga is nearly sewn up.

Atletico Madrid – who sit in second – are a hefty nine points behind the Catalans.

Real Madrid secured title glory last term but trail Barca by 15 points.

However, Ronaldo hasn’t given up the hunt and reckons Real can close the gap while Messi is out of the team.

It’s suggested Messi will only be benched in La Liga games though.

Barcelona still have eyes on the Champions League and Messi is viewed as the key to Valverde’s men triumphing in Europe’s elite competition.