Lionel Messi has given Barcelona a big boost ahead of Saturday’s La Liga clash with Real Mallorca by returning to full training with the squad.
The Argentine has been training on his own due to a “minor” quadriceps injury but was back on Monday morning with the rest of the group.
Sport’s Albert Roge showed the Barcelona captain in action at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper.
Messi’s return will be warmly welcomed by manager Quique Setien. The 32-year-old remains vital to his team’s hopes of success this season and tops the goalscoring charts in La Liga in 2019-20 with 19 goals from 22 appearances.
Real Mallorca Up Next for Barcelona
Barcelona will resume the defence of their La Liga title at Son Moix on Saturday against relegation-threatened Real Mallorca. Messi bagged a hat-trick against Vicente Moreno’s side in a 5-2 win at the Camp Nou when the two sides met earlier in the season.
The captain was also on target the last time he played at Real Mallorca, way back in November 2012. Messi bagged a brace in a 4-2 win that also saw him beat Pele’s record of 75 goals in a calendar season.
Setien spoke about Messi’s condition on Sunday night and said the Argentine was “perfectly well” and will not have any problems facing Real Mallorca despite his recent injury.
Messi on Course for Another Pichichi
Barcelona restart the competition on top of the table with Messi hoping to land the Spanish title for the 11th time in his career. He is also on course to land the Pichichi Trophy, given to the league’s top scorer, for a seventh time.
The Argentine has claimed the award for the last three seasons in a row. He finished last season on 36 goals, 15 clear of team-mate Luis Suarez and Karim Benzema in second place.
Last season’s Pichichi win saw Messi equal Telmo Zarra’s record of six victories, the last of which came in 1953. If the Barcelona captain finishes as the league’s top scorer again he will be out on his own and have another record to add to his vast collection.
His nearest challengers this season are again Suarez and Benzema. The Real Madrid star is on 14 goals from 26 appearances, while Suarez has 11 even though he’s been out injured since January.
All teams in La Liga have 11 games left to play. Barcelona take on Real Mallorca and Leganes next, while Real Madrid play Eibar and then Valencia.