Report: Lionel Messi to Miss Osasuna, Barcelona Eye Return After Internationals

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistAugust 28, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 04: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona during the Pre-Season Friendly  between FC Barcelona and Arsenal at Nou Camp on August 4, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is reportedly set to miss the team's La Liga showdown with Osasuna on Saturday due to injury.

According to Javier Miguel of AS, while there is a small chance of the Argentina international being ready for the game, Barcelona are unlikely to risk his involvement.

It's said Messi continued his recovery on Wednesday by working alone with a physio, meaning he will have a maximum of two sessions before the Osasuna clash. Should he miss that encounter, the 32-year-old will not line up in Barcelona colours until 14 September against Valencia, after the international break.

It was reported by Tom Farmery of MailOnline that Messi has "suffered another injury setback" and will "almost certainly" be out of Saturday's game.

The Spanish Football Podcast relayed a report from Onda Cero's Alfredo Martinez, in which it's said Barcelona have denied their No. 10 has suffered any new problem:

The Spanish Football Podcast @tsf_podcast

Barça deny that Leo Messi has suffered an injury setback https://t.co/8eFLzs8Mmq

Sport also say the club have denied there's been a fresh issue, although confirm the player's rehabilitation is "going slower than hoped for."

Messi's continued absence will be a blow for manager Ernesto Valverde, as there are currently a number of injury issues he has to contend with in the attacking positions.

With Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele also on the treatment table, Barcelona fielded an unfamiliar front three for the match against Real Betis on Sunday, with Antoine Griezmann flanked by Rafinha and Carles Perez.

Blaugrana fans would have been delighted to see Griezmann seize responsibility on his Camp Nou debut, as he was on the scoresheet twice in a 5-2 win:

LaLiga @LaLigaEN

💙🌟❤ @AntoGriezmann announced himself as an @FCBarcelona player with two goals tonight! All the highlights from a 7-goal thriller in #BarçaRealBetis... 👇 https://t.co/23xjYJfXQR

The arrival of the France striker means there isn't as much of an urgency to get Messi back onto the pitch, as Griezmann can drop into similar spaces, create chances and score goals. That extra multifaceted forward was not available to Barcelona last season, meaning they put too much emphasis on Messi.

Still, Messi is the man who makes Barcelona tick and his continued absence undoubtedly leaves them weaker.