Lionel Messi has been sidelined with injury to start the season as Barcelona are reportedly hopeful that he will return to action next week.
The 32-year-old has yet to feature this season after picking up a foot injury prior to the campaign starting, and so the Catalan giants have been without him since.
In turn, he has been unable to build on a stellar season last year in which he bagged 51 goals and 22 assists in 50 appearances, and that will be a huge frustration for all concerned.
Particularly with Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele also picking up knocks coupled with Philippe Coutinho’s exit, it has been a troublesome start to the new campaign for coach Ernesto Valverde.
According to Mundo Deportivo, he’ll have to continue to manage without Messi this weekend against Valencia, but it’s suggested that the Argentine superstar will potentially be in line to make his comeback against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League next week.
Failing that though, if the Barcelona medical staff aren’t entirely convinced that they aren’t running any risk of allowing Messi to feature, he could instead target a return against Granada on September 21.
The latter would arguably be the more sensible plan to gradually bring Messi back to full fitness, rather than throwing him straight into a Champions League game where that injury will undoubtedly be tested to see if it has fully healed.
Time will tell what the medical staff and Valverde opt to do though, as the player himself will surely be itching to return to action as soon as possible and boost his side’s hopes of making a positive start to the year as they target winning more major trophies.