Messi back in training, in contention to face Betis

  • Thursday 22, August 2019 11:59 AM
  • Messi back in training, in contention to face Betis
Sharjah24 – AFP: 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 La Liga on Sunday.

He strained his calf on August 5 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 up front has intensified speculation that Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar could return to Barcelona before the transfer window closes in Spain on September 2.