Lionel Messi in Squad vs. Inter Despite Not Being Cleared from Arm Injury

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistNovember 4, 2018

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi enters the pitch during the Champions League, Group B soccer match between Barcelona and Inter Milan, at the Nou Camp in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has been included in the team's squad for the upcoming UEFA Champions League match against Inter Milan on Tuesday despite not being medically cleared to play.

The Argentinian is still recovering from an arm injury but will make the trip to the Italian fashion capital:

FC Barcelona @FCBarcelona

❗ Squad list for #InterBarça 👑 Leo #Messi travels to Milan without medical all-clear 🔵🔴 #ForçaBarça https://t.co/zQcTK3x2Qf

The 31-year-old has been training with the first team for the last few days but hasn't played since the 4-2 win over Sevilla on Oct. 20, where he suffered the injury.

In that span, he missed out on the Clasico win over Real Madrid. It's safe to say the Catalans have been just fine without their biggest star:

B/R Football @brfootball

Stepping up without the 🐐 https://t.co/UcCCHMxi2g

The Blaugrana have a three-point lead over Inter at the top of Group B and beat the Italians at the Camp Nou in their last outing. Tottenham Hotspur and PSV Eindhoven have just one point each, so another win at the San Siro on Tuesday would lock up the group for the Spaniards with two matches left to play.

With qualification for the next round all but secured, Barcelona don't have to risk Messi in Italy, and in all likelihood they won't. They face a dangerous Real Betis side in La Liga in their next outing and will take on Atletico Madrid after the international break, and those matches should be considered the priority for Messi.

Ousmane Dembele came off the bench to score in the narrow win over Rayo Vallecano on Saturday, while Rafinha has been Messi's main replacement in the starting XI so far. The Brazilian scored against Inter but has been inconsistent at best, so don't be surprised if Ernesto Valverde opts for the Frenchman this time around.

Messi could be the perfect wild card off the bench, but a start against the in-form Nerazzurri seems unlikely.