Lionel Messi to Miss Barcelona's La Liga Season Opener with Calf Injury

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistAugust 15, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 04: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona waves to the crowd prior to the Joan Gamper Trophy match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal at Nou Camp on August 04, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Lionel Messi will miss Barcelona's opening La Liga match of the season against Athletic Bilbao on Friday with a calf injury.

Barca tweeted their squad ahead of the away clash, and Messi was not named in Ernesto Valverde's travelling party.

Matt Maltby of the Mirror reported Messi had sustained the injury in pre-season training. Messi has continued his preparations ahead of the new campaign but is not ready to feature.

Speaking in a press conference on Thursday, Valverde said: "We never like to risk any players, and much less someone like Leo."

Messi's absence could open the door for Philippe Coutinho or Ousmane Dembele to start alongside Luis Suarez.

According to Bruno Andrade of Goal, Coutinho continues to be linked with a move away from the Spanish champions, with Barca reportedly keen to show the Brazil international the Camp Nou exit door.