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Martino: Messi needs rest but won't be substituted regularly

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Martino refuses to retract Bale comments
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Martino refuses to retract Bale comments

Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino says he will not continually substitute Lionel Messi despite admitting that the Argentine must accept the need to be rested this season.

The new Barca boss replaced Messi during the club's 7-0 thrashing of Levante on the opening day of the season in La Liga, and, ahead of the Blaugrana's Supercopa clash with Atletico Madrid, Martino says he will not be making a habit of withdrawing the four-time Ballon d'Or winner.

"I think it's a matter of compromise from both parties, we've talked about it, and Leo understands what it is about, but of course I won't substitute him five times in a row," Martino told reporters. "It's about balance. I am the coach and I make the decisions, but I seldom take such drastic action without speaking to my players first.

"It doesn't affect my authority if I change my stance on something. If I have to reconsider a decision, I will."

Barcelona heads into the first leg of the Supercopa knowing it has beaten Atletico Madrid in each of their last six meetings. Despite the one-sided record though, Martino insists the Catalans will be in for a difficult encounter, with Atletico -- which boasts former Barca striker David Villa -- beating Real Madrid to claim a place in the tie while opening the La Liga campaign with a 3-1 victory on Sunday against Sevilla.

"Obviously we are expected to win the Supercopa, so we will try to make sure we get the result against Atletico Madrid, but it is not guaranteed," Martino said. "Anything can happen over the 180 minutes it is different from the league where we have 38 fixtures over the course of the season."

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