Barcelona face Inter in the Champions League on Tuesday night, and Lionel Messi is reportedly set to start the game on the bench for the visitors.
The Argentine icon has been sidelined with a fractured arm since the win over Sevilla last month, but his teammates haven’t done too badly in his absence.
Having won four in four and scored 11 goals which included the 5-1 win over Real Madrid, the Catalan giants have certainly shown that they can cope without him.
Nevertheless, given the quality that he brings to the team, there is no doubt that coach Ernesto Valverde would much prefer to have him at his disposal.
According to Mundo Deportivo, after taking part in training on Monday night, albeit still looking tentative with his arm, Messi is expected to be named on the bench against Inter in midweek as he steps up his recovery and edges closer to a return to action.
It’s added that he’s set to get medical clearance to feature, but it remains to be seen if Valverde opts to risk him or waits until the weekend to give him a little more recovery time.
The 31-year-old has scored 12 goals and provided six assists in just 12 outings so far this season, backing up how important he remains to Barcelona.
With that in mind, a potential return against Inter or perhaps against Real Betis on Sunday will be a welcome boost for the reigning Spanish champions as they look to continue to march on in their pursuit of major honours this season.
Valverde knows a win over Inter would see them qualify for the knockout stage and all-but secure top spot. In turn, perhaps Messi could play a part if needed to wrap things up.