Barcelona captain Lionel Messi is in line to face Real Betis on Sunday having overcome a calf injury sustained during pre-season.
Blaugrana coach Ernesto Valverde has been heavily criticised following a 1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao in their first game of the new La Liga campaign, with a growing section of the fan-base calling for the 55-year-old's dismissal. Therefore, the return of the talismanic Messi is a more than welcome boost for the manager as he looks to silence his doubters.
However, he has recovered in little over a fortnight, with Barcelona's official website stating: "It’s the news we’ve all been waiting for and it finally happened on Wednesday as Leo Messi was back training with his team-mates at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper."
It is splendid timing on Messi's part given the loss of fellow forwards Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele, who have both been ruled out until September.
The Uruguayan is also struggling with a calf problem, whilst his French counterpart strained his hamstring in the defeat to Athletic on Friday evening.
The Catalan giants are the reigning champions of Spain, but had their authority questioned in Bilbao as an incredible bicycle-kick from Aritz Aduriz - who will be 39 by the end of the campaign - left Valverde red-faced.
Despite the absence of Suarez and Dembele for La Blaugrana, Messi could still find himself surrounded by elite-level talent at the top end of the pitch as the club continue their pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar, though an agreement between the two teams is proving difficult to come by.