The Argentina international starts alongside Andres Iniesta and Pedro up front for the Blaugrana, as they attempt to sustain their remarkable unbeaten league record
Messi, Iniesta and Pedro make up the Catalans' three-pronged attack, while Cesc Fabregas, Xavi and Sergio Busquets start in midfield.
In defence, Gerard Pique returns having been rested against Malaga, with Javier Mascherano making way for the former Manchester United centre-back.
Victor Valdes, who recently announced his decision not to renew his current contract when it expires in 2014, starts in goal for the Blaugrana.
For the home side, Inigo Martinez returns from suspension to start in defence having missed the 1-1 draw with Deportivo, while Dani Estrada is named as a substitute following a one-match ban.
Chory Castro is chosen to spearhead their attack ahead of Ifran, and is supported by Xabi Prieto, Carlos Vela and Antoine Griezmann.
Real Sociedad (4-2-3-1): Bravo; C. Martinez, Mikel, I. Martinez, De la Bella; Markel, Illarramendi; Griezmann, Xabi Prieto, Vela; Chory Castro
Subs: Zubikarai, Elustondo, Agirretxe, Ruben Pardo, Jose Angel, Ifran, Estrada
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Pique, Puyol, Alba; Busquets, Fabregas, Xavi; Pedro, Messi, Iniesta
Subs: Pinto, Mascherano, Adriano, Song, Thiago, Alexis, Tello