LaLiga: Barcelona's Lionel Messi returns to training after recovering from calf injury, could be fit to play against Real Betis

  • Lionel Messi gave Barcelona a timely boost on Wednesday by returning to training with the rest of the squad after a calf injury.

  • Messi strained his calf on 5 August in his first training session back following the Copa America and subsequently missed the club's pre-season.

  • Messi's absence has been compounded by injuries to other strikers.

Madrid: Lionel Messi gave Barcelona a timely boost on Wednesday by returning to training with the rest of the squad after a calf injury.

Messi trained alone in the morning before joining his team-mates in the afternoon, increasing hopes that Barca's captain could play a role against Real Betis in LaLiga on Sunday.

He strained his calf on 5 August in his first training session back following the Copa America and subsequently missed the club's pre-season.

It would be a surprise if Messi started at Camp Nou, but Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde will be eager to have his star available again, particularly after his team suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat by Athletic Bilbao in their opening league game last weekend.

Messi's absence has been compounded by injuries to other strikers.

Luis Suarez is expected to be out for around a month after hobbling off with a calf problem against Bilbao. Ousmane Dembele injured his hamstring and will need five weeks to recover.

Antoine Griezmann, the 120 million summer signing from Atletico Madrid, is the only fully-fit forward, with Rafinha and 21-year-old Carles Perez possible options to play behind him.

The shortage upfront has intensified speculation that Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar could return to Barcelona before the transfer window closes in Spain on 2 September.

PSG sporting director Leonardo admitted earlier this month that the club were in "advanced negotiations" to sell Neymar but a deal is yet to be agreed with Barca, who have already spent around 250 million euros this summer.

Updated Date: Aug 22, 2019 08:45:39 IST