Lionel Messi to be Barcelona substitute against Real Betis

Barcelona are confident Lionel Messi will return to action against Real Betis on Sunday but will only be listed as a substitute, say Cadena Cope.

The Argentine suffered a soleus muscle – in his Achilles tendon – in pre-season and sat out the club’s opening day 1-0 defeat at Athletic Club in Bilbao.

He is set to only return to first-team training with his teammates on Thursday, despite doing a lot of individual training sessions in an attempt to regain fitness.

There are now concerns that the attacking star may now be available to start against Real Betis this coming week for the scheduled fixture at the Camp Nou.

The news comes following injuries that Luis Suarez sustained in the defeat in the Basque Country while Ousmane Dembele is set to be ruled out for five weeks with a fresh muscular injury.

It leaves Antoine Griezmann as the only fit senior attacking player in Ernesto Valverde’s squad amid continued reports that they are attempting to resign Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain this summer.

Messi was injured in his first pre-season session after returning from holiday, while he was involved extensively in Argentina’s run to the Copa America semi-finals, so has not been involved in any sessions yet.

Tags Lionel Messi