Lionel Messi nears Barcelona comeback
Lionel Messi stepped up his recovery from a thigh injury when he returned to full training with his Barcelona teammates on Monday.
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Messi picked up the injury when scoring in the 2-0 win at Almeria in late September, and subsequently missed Barca’s 1-0 Champions League win at Celtic and the 4-1 La Liga win at home to Real Valladolid.
He also sat out Argentina’s last two World Cup qualifiers while spending the international break working on his fitness in Catalonia.
The blaugrana No. 10 now looks close to a return ahead of Saturday’s La Liga trip to Osasuna, Tuesday’s Champions League group game in Milan and the first ‘clasico’ of the season at home to Real Madrid on October 26, a Barca club statement said.
“Leo Messi took another big step back to full fitness this evening when he trained with the rest of the squad -- the first time he's done so since his injury against Almeria,” the statement said.
“After a couple of days break, the remnants of Barca's squad were back in training this Monday evening, as Tato Martino put his 11 available first team players through their paces. Leo Messi was the focus of attention, with the Argentinean training with the rest of the players for the first time since he picked up a thigh strain against Almeria.”
Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano also took part in the training session, and both defenders will be in coach Gerardo Martino’s plans as Barca go into a busy period which also includes La Liga games at Celta Vigo and at home to Espanyol, before the return Champions League group game against Milan at the Camp Nou.