Lionel Messi is reportedly battling injury troubles, but that isn’t set to stop him from starting for Barcelona against Espanyol on Saturday.
The Catalan giants host their rivals at the Nou Camp this weekend, hoping to extend their 10-point lead at the top of the La Liga table.
It’s a busy time of the year for Ernesto Valverde’s men, as they play three games over the next seven days, before facing Man Utd in the Champions League on April 10.
In order to keep their hopes of a treble alive, they’ll need their talisman Messi firing on all cylinders, as he looks to add to his brilliant tallies of 39 goals and 21 assists in just 37 games so far this season.
Mundo Deportivo though report that despite struggling with a groin problem for months which also forced him to return from international duty early just last week, coupled with a minor foot injury in training on Thursday, Messi will start against Espanyol.
On one hand, if the medical staff have given him the green light to feature, then that is ultimately all that Valverde needs to know and would be wise to start his star man.
However, given Barcelona’s lead at the top of the standings, coupled with the key games coming up which includes facing title rivals Atletico Madrid next Saturday ahead of that aforementioned meeting with United, it would seem sensible to sit Messi out to give him more time to recover.
Should the groin problem flare up against Espanyol or his foot issue is aggravated, Barcelona fans will undoubtedly now be furious if he is forced to sit out games in the coming weeks.
Nevertheless, that is perhaps the risk that they have to take otherwise Messi would simply be wrapped up in cotton wool all the time.