Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde announced he plans to recall Lionel Messi for the La Liga fixture with Valencia after the international break.
The last time Messi suited up for Barcelona came in May’s shock Copa del Rey final to none other than Valencia.
The 32-year-old took some extra time off during the summer break following his Copa America exploits with Argentina. However, he sustained a calf strain on his very first training session back at Catalonia.
Barcelona, therefore, have had to make do without Messi leading the attack for their opening games of this season. They also lost Luis Suarez to another calf problem in their 1-0 opening day loss to Athletic Bilbao.
Although Antoine Griezmann’s brace in last weekend’s 5-2 win over Real Betis proves that the Blaugrana have, at least, one striker available to put away the goals.
And now Valverde confirmed that he’s won’t be risking Messi for Saturday’s trip to Osasuna.
“The process of recovery continues as normal,” said Valverde, according to Yahoo.
“It is true that now the margins are small and we hope that for the game against Valencia he might be available.
“Then we start the Champions League and we hope to have him back for that but we will see how he progresses in these two weeks with the injury.”
Messi’s planned return will coincide with a busy run of fixtures for Barcelona in the space of just 10 days once the international break is over.
The Catalan giants will first welcome Valencia at Camp Nou on September 14 before travelling to Borussia Dortmund in Germany three days later for their Champions League Group F opener.
Afterwards, Barcelona will return to La Liga action against Granada (September 21) and Villarreal (September 24).
So, Valverde’s decision to play it safe with Messi is probably a wise call as he’ll need every man available during this packed schedule.