Barcelona have been handed a major fitness boost ahead of their Champions League quarter-final tie against Manchester United with news that Lionel Messi is set to be fit for the first leg.
The 31-year-old had been on international duty when he suffered a pelvic injury during Argentina’s 3-1 defeat to Venezuela, leaving question marks regarding the fitness of the forward in the games to come.
The Catalan side released a statement in the days that followed to confirm that Messi would return to the club in the wake of the injury, meaning he wouldn’t play in La Albiceleste’s second friendly of the international break against Morocco.
According to The Sun however, Messi’s injury isn’t likely to be a serious one, with the media outlet claiming he’ll been in Ernesto Valverde’s squad to face Espanyol this weekend, as players return to their respective club sides following the latest round of international fixtures.
Following El Derbi Barceloni, the current La Liga leaders face Villarreal and Atletico Madrid, before the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final against United takes place at Old Trafford on 10 April.
It’s expected that Messi’s fitness will be monitored extremely closely between now and then, as the Argentine continues to be Barcelona’s main man when it comes to goalscoring and creating chances.
Lionel Messi has scored or assisted a goal once every 53 minutes on average this season.
37 games. 39 goals. 18 assists.
Out of this world. pic.twitter.com/58vRzxw8DY
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 17, 2019
He’s scored 39 goals for Barcelona in all competitions this season, while also providing 18 assists in a campaign that could see the five-time Ballon d’Or winner finish the season by winning a third treble of his career (La Liga, Champions League and Copa del Rey), having done so in 2008/09 and 2014/15.