Lionel Messi tore the internal collateral ligament of his left knee during Barcelona's Sept. 26 victory over Las Palmas, prompting a two-month spell on the sidelines. However, he's now ready for competitive action.
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Messi Available for El Clasico
Saturday, Nov. 21
Enrique Comments on Messi's Status
Friday, Nov. 20
"We know he’s not going to be 100 [percent] fit," Enrique said, according to Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC. "Coming back from injury, depends how he feels, but great for us he’s back."
Argentina Doctor Sounds Major Warning Over Rushed Messi Comeback
Wednesday, Nov. 11
"The risk of a relapse if Messi plays the Clasico is high," Argentina team doctor Homero de Agostino told Cadena SER (h/t Football Espana). "A coach can’t rely on a player who has just recovered to play in a showdown like the Clasico. Messi may make progress in working with the ball but never to play a Clasico within the next 15 days," he added.
Messi Admits Injury Frustration
Tuesday, Sept. 29
"Thank you all for your supportive messages," Messi posted on his official Facebook page soon after suffering his injury. "For anyone who loves football, the hardest thing is not to be on the pitch. Now it's time to recover properly to come back."
Messi Return Will Boost Threadbare Barca Squad
The Argentina international was enjoying another fine start to the 2015-16 campaign prior to his injury, scoring three goals in four Primera Division starts. Teaming up with forwards Luis Suarez and Neymar, Messi forms part of arguably the strongest group of attackers in the world.
But unlike previous years, Barcelona's depth behind those three is limited. Super-sub Pedro Rodriguez joined Chelsea during the summer, and Arda Turan is unable to be registered until January. Rafinha also suffered a devastating injury earlier this season, leaving Enrique with the young and unproven Munir el Haddadi and Sandro Ramirez for cover.
Both are supremely gifted, but no one could adequately replace Messi, who will hope he can boost his team at a vital time in the season.