Messi returns to Barcelona squad after injury

April 11, 2008

Soccer-Messi returns to Barcelona squad after injury

MADRID, April 11 (Reuters) - Argentina forward Lionel Messi returned to the Barcelona squad on Friday for the trip to face Recreativo Huelva in the Primera Liga this weekend.

The 20-year-old tore a muscle in his left thigh at the beginning of March during the 1-0 Champions League win over Celtic at the Nou Camp.

His return will be a boost to Frank Rijkaard's side, who are third in the standings, as they seek to close the seven-point gap on leaders Real Madrid, with seven games left. Barca have only won once in their last six outings.

It also puts Messi back in the reckoning for the Champions League semi-finals against Manchester United later this month.

France striker Thierry Henry and youngster Bojan Krkic were left out suffering from knocks following the midweek win over Schalke 04. Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta is injured with a knee problem.

Barca play relegation-threatened Recre on Saturday. (Writing by Mark Elkington; editing by Trevor Huggins)