"Decisive" Messi proves worth to Barca as well as Argentina

Messi the hero off the bench as Barca grab late draw vs. Sevilla

But Luis Suarez - who had been so wasteful for the visitors - then halved the deficit and 53 seconds later Messi earned a point, the Argentine superstar beating Sergio Rico from 20 yards to cap his return from injury in an astonishing finish to the contest.

Bilardo also said he doubts the upcoming championship will bring any surprises, maintaining the Cup's "most important" national teams are Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Spain and France.

"It's been a while since he's played after missing the [Argentina] games and he needed to play", the coach said.

As Barcelona saw their unbeaten record nearing its end, Valverde reacted by bringing Lionel Messi on for the final half an hour, and he nearly made an instant impact.

Although the phenomenal forward was unable to mark any major advancements early on, the Catalan team started pushing forward as the game bordered its conclusion.

Barcelona's next match is a Champions League tie at Roma on Wednesday.

Barcelona are running away with the Spanish league this year in Ernesto Valverde's first year in charge.

Messi still made the decisive intervention even if Barca's draw means Atletico Madrid can cut the gap at the top to nine points by beating Deportivo La Coruna at home on Sunday. "Not at all. That's why we compete until the end".

"Getting a draw like this, with the spirit of the team, gives us a lot".

"We weren't able to control their counter-attacks", he admitted.

He added: "However, everything happens very quickly in the world we live in". From three of our own corners, we didn't control [the counter-attacks] and each one led to danger.

Sevilla looked set for a hard-fought victory against the La Liga leaders, with goals from Franco Vasquez and Luis Muriel putting the hosts in the driving seat.

Sevilla coach Vincenzo Montella, whose side are in action against Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday, was left to lament a lack of efficiency in the final third.

Valverde said: "The game was very bad, because in the first half they mounted unsafe counterattacks after our corners, though we also had some clear opportunities".