Although Messi's exclusion from the team isn't a good news for any Barcelona faithful, fringe players like Philippe Coutinho and Ousmanne Dembele can make their case in his absence.
That's especially the case for Coutinho who has been linked with a move away from the Camp Nou following the arrival of Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid early last month.
The Brazilian hasn't been at his best form ever since securing a $143m pound move from Liverpool in 2018 January transfer window, with Messi's absence giving him a chance to try and impress the Barcelona manager.
Conversely, if Valverde decides not to include the Brazilian in his starting XI on Friday, that would give a chance to an on-again, off-again Ousmanne Dembele to showcase his talent in front of the Bilbao crowd.
Ligalive Infographics: Player Performance; Premier League Season 2018/19