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Messi could return for Barcelona's Champions League clash with Inter

11:58 AM WAT 30/09/2019
Lionel Messi - cropped
Ernesto Valverde could be a set for a double fitness boost, welcoming two injured stars back into the fold ahead of the Nerazzurri's visit

Lionel Messi returned to Barcelona training on Monday in a boost to his chances of featuring in the midweek Champions League game against Inter.

The superstar forward completed part of the session with the main group as he stepped up his recovery from the adductor injury he suffered in the 2-1 La Liga win over Villarreal last Tuesday.

Barca captain Messi had to be withdrawn at half-time and missed Saturday's 2-0 victory at Getafe, secured courtesy of goals from Luis Suarez and Junior Firpo.

Messi, 32, was making his first start of the campaign when he sustained the adductor issue, having been troubled by a calf problem during pre-season which has limited him to just two La Liga appearances so far this term.

Barca's goalless Champions League draw away to Borussia Dortmund on September 17 marked his return to action and the Argentina international could be available again for the club's second Group F game, at home to Antonio Conte's in-form Inter on Wednesday.

The Serie A leaders were disappointing in their first European fixture of the season, however, needing a stoppage-time equaliser from Nicolo Barella to salvage a 1-1 draw with Slavia Prague.

However, they have made a perfect start domestically, winning all six of their opening league fixtures and conceding just two goals in that period to open up a two-point gap on reigning champions Juventus.

It could be a double fitness boost for Ernesto Valverde, with Ousmane Dembele also involved in the first session of the week.

Like Messi, the winger missed the trip to Getafe because of a thigh problem.

However, neither player participated in the full session, which may mean that one or both appear from the bench rather than starting the game.

Two successive league victories have lifted the Spanish champions to fourth in La Liga and eased the pressure on head coach Valverde following an indifferent start to the season in which they have lost to both Athletic Bilbao and newly-promoted Granada, as well as drawing with Osasuna.