The 50-year-old is hoping the Argentina international picks up where he left off and helps the Blaugrana through an important few days of the seasonBarcelona coach Gerardo Martino expects the best from Lionel Messi as the forward returns in time to take on AC Milan and Real Madrid this week.
The Argentina international came on as a second-half substitute in the Blaugrana’s 0-0 draw with Osasuna on Saturday, after missing the previous two games with a hamstring problem.
Messi looks set to start his first match since September 28 against Milan on Tuesday, and Martino is confident that the No.10 will pick up where he left off before his injury.
“Everyone wants the best from Messi when he’s out on the pitch,” he told reporters.
“He has made us expect it from him. It’s something we’ve grown used to since he made his debut in the top flight.
“Messi is fine and once he gets the clearance from the medical team, he runs the same risks as any other player.”
Barcelona are looking to extend their perfect start in the Champions League to three games in Milan but Martino is wary of the threat posed by the Rossoneri.
“I’m sure that tomorrow, the players will think exactly as they did last season - that Milan is a side with a great tradition and shouldn’t be underestimated," he reasoned.
“This match isn’t a just a formality for us. We’re going into the game on the back of a good performance in a match which, although we didn’t win, allowed us to go top of the table. We’re in good form and we’re happy.
“I think we just need to focus strictly on what we do - give Milan few chances to hit us on the break and try to dominate possession.
“Reducing their options of hitting us on the counterattack is the key because that is where they are at their most dangerous.”