Barcelona host Sevilla on Sunday but former Barca star Rivaldo believes Lionel Messi should not feature.
Messi played his first 90 minutes of the season in midweek as he helped Barcelona come from behind to beat Inter Milan in the Champions League.
He will be hoping to help Barca earn their fifth win in La Liga with the Nou Camp outfit picking up 13 points from their first seven games.
But Brazil legend Rivaldo believes it might be best to allow Messi to regain his full fitness bit by bit.
“Messi’s importance in the win against Inter only reinforces my view that he has to be more protected in this phase of his career,” Rivaldo wrote for Betfair.
“He must be allowed to fully recover so that he can stop feeling any pain and lose any fear of fighting for each ball.
“He must be allowed to recover his joy on the pitch, as he is very important for Barcelona, especially when on his best form.
“Barcelona face Sevilla on Sunday in La Liga and of course Messi wants to play.
“But it could be time to reflect with the medical staff and check if playing too much time after coming back from an injury could be risky for his recovery.
“Sometimes, it might be better to just do some recovery training.
“It is an important match against Sevilla but there is a lot of the league season to play yet, so perhaps protecting the player could reap rewards later, as it would allow Messi to have some more days to recover from his midweek efforts.”
Following the Inter game, Messi himself admitted he is not quite fully fit just yet.
Messi said: “I’m trying to keep up, it is the first 90 minutes that I’ve been able to complete since the beginning of the season.
“I’m happy to have ended the match well, of course I am tired, I am missing the rhythm but like with all the team, as the matches go on I am building that rhythm.
“During the year I am used to playing and keeping up to the rhythm of the game because we can do very little with training.
“We play every week, Sunday’s, Wednesday’s… and so it is hard to put in strong training.”