Messi unlikely to play against Valencia

Barcelona have an important game coming up against Valencia on Saturday, but they are likely to be without Lionel Messi as the Argentine continues to train alone on the periphery of the squad.

The game at home to Valencia will be the first of seven between September 14 and October 6 – one match every three days – and everything is pointing towards the Blaugrana being without their talisman for the fourth game in a row, reports Marca.

Without Messi, Barcelona have struggled. They lost their LaLiga Santander opener 1-0 away to Athletic Club before beating Real Betis 5-2 at home and then drawing 2-2 away at Osasuna.

Messi sustained the injury back on August 5, the first day he returned for pre-season after his holidays, as he withdrew from the pitch halfway through the session after feeling some discomfort in the back of his right leg. The setback meant that he missed Barcelona’s tour to the United States.

The medical tests showed that he had an injury in his soleus muscle in his calf, and this was made public by the club: “Tests have shown that he has a first-grade injury in his soleus. His evolution [from the injury] will determine his availability.”

Messi has now gone 37 days without being able to play. It is his longest time without playing since the internal collateral ligament in his left knee was broken on September 26, 2015, during a match against Las Palmas. That injury kept him out for 51 days.

The hope is that Messi may be available to feature in the Champions League premiere against Borussia Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park on September 17, either as a starter or from the bench.

In Wednesday morning’s training session, Luis Suarez – also with discomfort in his soleus – took part in some of the group’s work, so the Uruguayan could feature against Valencia.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Carles Alena and Frenkie de Jong have all returned after being with their national teams – U21s in the case of Alena – while Ronald Araujo, Alex Collado, Riqui Puig, Kike Saverio and Carles Perez from the B team all joined the session as well as Juvenil A players Arnau Tenas and Ansu Fati.