Barca rests World Cup heroes


MADRID, August 14 – Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has left out the club's eight World Cup-winning players from his squad to face Sevilla in the first leg of the Spanish Supercup on Saturday.
Guardiola announced a 19-man squad for the Spanish champions’ first competitive game of the season, including nine from the Barcelona B team, the club said on its website late Friday.

Argentine star Lionel Messi is included, as are Brazilian defender Dani Alves and Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

But the eight players from the club who helped win the World Cup for Spain in South Africa last month are rested.

Most were in the squad that traveled to Mexico for an international friendly on Wednesday, a game that ended in 1-1 draw.

The eight are goalkeeper Victor Valdes, defenders Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol, midfielders Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Xavi Hernandez, and strikers Pedro Rodriguez and David Villa.

Also left in Barcelona for the Sevilla match are Belarus winger Alexander Hleb, Uruguayan defender Jose Martin Caceres and injured keeper Jose Manuel Pinto.

Guardiola told a news conference he had chosen "the best players available at this time" and denied that the club was not taking the Supercup seriously.

"We have shown that we take all competitions very seriously, and this is no exception."

The Spanish Supercup — the second of leg of which is scheduled for August 21 — pits the league champions against the King’s Cup winners.

Barca launches the defence of its league crown with a match at Racing Santander on August 29.