Messi ruled out from Barcelona’s LA LIGA opener


Messi set to miss out on Barcelona's LA LIGA opener
SEVILLE, SPAIN - MAY 25: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona shows his dejection after Rodrigo Moreno of Valencia CF scored his team's second goal during the Spanish Copa del Rey match between Barcelona and Valencia at Estadio Benito Villamarin on May 25, 2019 in Seville, . (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has confirmed that he wants to be with Lionel Messi in LA LIGA fixture against Bilbao on Friday night.

The 32-year-old Argentine who scored 51 goals in all competitions  for his club last season picked up a calf-strain during a pre-season training camp on August 5. 

Said coach Ernesto Valverde ahead of Friday’s clash: “We never like to risk any players and much less someone like Leo.”

“He still hasn’t returned to training with the team and while we are happy with his progress, individual training is very different to playing a match. We are going to wait and see.”

Messi is back in training

Barcelona Champions League
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 01: Lionel Messi of Barcelona celebrates after he scores his sides third goal during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final first leg match between Barcelona and Liverpool at the Nou Camp on May 01, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Even though he has been rammed out of the opening fixture, it's not that long before his fans can see Messi back in action.

The Argentine has shared his Instagram account with his 128.3m followers.

Messi can be seen undergoing intense sand workouts at the club's training facilities in the said video, a clear sign that the Argentine is not at work at his best.

That said, one thing which raises doubts about the return of the Argentine to Barcelona's starting lineup is that the balloon has not had a return date for the 5 times Ballon D'Or winner.

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Who will play in his absence

Coutinho FC Barcelona
BILBAO, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 10: Philippe Coutinho of FC Barcelona in action during the La Liga match between Athletic Club and FC Barcelona at San Mames Stadium on February 10, 2019 in Bilbao, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Although Messi's exclusion from the team isn't a good news for any Barcelona faithful, fringe players like Philippe Coutinho and Ousmanne Dembele can make their case in his absence.

That's especially the case for Coutinho who has been linked with a move away from the Camp Nou following the arrival of Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid early last month.

The Brazilian hasn't been at his best form ever since securing a $143m pound move from Liverpool in 2018 January transfer window, with Messi's absence giving him a chance to try and impress the Barcelona manager.

Conversely, if Valverde decides not to include the Brazilian in his starting XI on Friday, that would give a chance to an on-again, off-again Ousmanne Dembele to showcase his talent in front of the Bilbao crowd.

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