Messi returns to full training with Barcelona

By Sports Desk August 21, 2019

Lionel Messi returned to full training with Barcelona on Wednesday as he nears a comeback from a calf injury.

The 32-year-old missed the whole of Barca's pre-season programme and was not part of their squad for the 1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao on the opening day of the LaLiga season.

Messi – whose last competitive outing was for Argentina in the Copa America third-place play-off victory over Chile, a match in which he was controversially sent off – has been doing solo exercises to build up his fitness and sat out the LaLiga champions' first training session on Wednesday but was pictured with the rest of his team-mates later in the day.

Barca head coach Ernesto Valverde may now consider the Argentina international for selection against Real Betis on Sunday, with Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez already ruled out.

Dembele will miss the next five weeks with a hamstring injury and Suarez is out for an indefinite period after injuring his right calf in the shock defeat to Athletic.

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    Ernesto Valverde admits he is to blame for Barcelona's poor form after Saturday's 2-0 loss at Granada confirmed their worst LaLiga start in 25 years.

    Barca went down to goals from Ramon Azeez and Alvaro Vadillo as the promoted side moved top of the table, with Valverde's men seventh after five games.

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    "The first goal has put the game in their hands and they hit us when they hurt us the most. They have made their game and that we have not played well is to their credit."

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