Barcelona star Lionel Messi returned to training on Wednesday and is expected to make his comeback from a groin injury against Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday ahead of next week’s visit from Manchester City in the Champions League.
The Argentina international has been sidelined since injuring his groin for a second time this season in the 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid last month. He’s missed wins over Sporting Gijon and Borussia Monchengladbach and the defeat to Celta Vigo.
Barca’s initial estimation was that Messi would be absent for three weeks, and Mundo Deportivo reported on Tuesday that his recovery was on track and that he’d already been able to do some light training with his teammates.
The Catalan club have now confirmed via Twitter that he trained on Wednesday, as did defender Samuel Umtiti, who has also been missing since September with a knee injury.
Messi first encountered a problem with his groin after Barca’s win over Athletic Bilbao in August. Despite that, he still joined up with Argentina and played in their World Cup qualifying win over Uruguay before returning to Spain.
He quickly returned to action, though, and Sport reported that prompted a problem in another part of his groin during the Atletico match, as he was exerting extra pressure on one part of the muscle. It led to a war of words between club and country, and the 29-year-old was accused of not looking after himself properly.
As well as the presence of Messi and Umtiti, Luis Enrique was also boosted by the return of several internationals on Wednesday. Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Lucas Digne, Andre Gomes and Denis Suarez were all back at the Ciutat Esportiva after representing their respective countries.
The South American internationals will return later this week — although Neymar is already back — ahead of the game against Depor, which precedes the return of Pep Guardiola’s visit next Wednesday.
Luis Enrique is still without the injured trio of Sergi Roberto, Jordi Alba and Jasper Cillessen, though. None of them are expected to feature this weekend.