Barcelona have been handed a major boost ahead of their Champions League opener against Borussia Dortmund with Lionel Messi declared fit to play.
The Argentine star has not featured for the Catalan giants so far this season due to a niggling calf issue but after missing the 5-2 win over Valencia at the weekend, he has proved his fitness to be included in the club’s 22-man squad. Messi returned to full training alongside his team-mates on Monday morning and will hope to get his first minutes of the campaign away at Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion.
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has been keen to avoid rushing the five-time Ballon d’Or winner back too soon but it appears he is closing in on full fitness.
He last featured for Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final in May against Valencia but having watched from the stands as the likes of 16-year-old wonderkid Ansu Fati have taken the headlines, Messi will be keen to announce himself in style if he does return to action in Germany.
Barcelona’s 22-man squad will depart for Germany later on Monday afternoon. The Catalans have made a stuttering start to the new campaign in Messi’s absence with two wins, one draw and one defeat leaving them fifth after four games.
For Messi, the focus will once again be on lifting the Champions League trophy, having suffered a semi-final collapse from 3-0 up against Liverpool last season.