Vila-Real — Barcelona’s thrilling 4-4 draw with Villarreal on Tuesday has been hailed as the game of the season in Spain but yet again it showed the La Liga leaders’ vulnerability whenever they try to give Lionel Messi a breather. With a top-of-the-table showdown against Atletico Madrid and two Champions League quarterfinal games against Manchester United coming up, Barca coach Ernesto Valverde understandably opted to rest his talisman. Messi sat on the bench alongside Ivan Rakitic and Gerard Pique and although Barca got off to a flying start with two early goals they were pegged back by struggling Villarreal, prompting Valverde to turn to him with the score tied at 2-2. No sooner had Messi come on and Villarreal took a shock lead before making it 4-2. But, not for the first time this season, Barca’s captain spearheaded their comeback. The Argentine smashed a free kick in off the post at the start of stoppage time, paving the way for Luis Suarez’s last-gasp equaliser. “Football is i...

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