Barcelona Coach Gerardo Martino has welcomed the return to fitness of Lionel Messi ahead of facing Getafe in the Copa del Rey.
Messi hasn’t played since November 10 after tearing his hamstring against Real Betis, and Martino told a Press conference that having him back available is a boost to everyone at the club.
“We are happy for him,” Martino commented today.
“And I am particularly happy because we have all the players fit and they're all good.
“I have spoken to Leo and he says he’s ready to play.
“He’s done his training and now what he has to do is play a match.
“But with injuries, you first have to get over them physically, and then you have to get over them mentally”.
Martino went on to deny that the return of Messi poses problems for his team selection after the good form of Alexis Sanchez and Pedro.
“Imagine the problem for the other Coaches who don’t have these players.
“We all feel better, more in the mood, with Messi.
“It would have been worse if we were desperate for him to return. He can now be reinstated without too much pressure.”
Nevertheless Martino conceded that he would be delighted for Messi to score a repeat of his famous Maradona-esque goal against Getafe in the same competition.
“Messi scores great goals in every game. I hope he does another one like that.”
Martino also warned against taking Getafe lightly, pointing to the team’s experience earlier in the season against the same opposition. The Madrid side took a two-goal lead before Barca rallied with five in reply.
“We have to focus on this match. There is no room for error in the Copa del Rey. We want to stay in the cup and so we have to win.We still have Thursday and Friday to worry about Atletico Madrid
“We play the game like the last 70 minutes at Getafe and avoid those first 20. It was an isolated incident. “
Martino confirmed Jose Pinto will continue in goal but is missing a trio of players – Marc Bartra, Xavi Hernandez and Dani Alves.
“Bartra got hurt but tests didn’t detect anything wrong, but it’s best not to risk things.
“Instinct tells me that we should be cautious. It’s a similar thing with Xavi, with the soleus trouble he’s been having since last season.
“I haven’t spoken to Alves, but he hasn’t looked right to me since he came back with flu. He needs a few more training sessions.”