Messi on track to make injury comeback v Real Madrid after coming off crutches

The Argentina star injured his knee ligaments in the win over Las Palmas, but he's now ready to step up his recovery work with a Clasico date the goal

GOAL By Ignasi Oliva & Sam Marsden  
Lionel Messi has taken the first significant steps in his recovery from a serious knee injury, with Barcelona hopeful the Argentine will be fit and firing in time for the first Clasico of the season against Real Madrid on 22 November, Goal understands.

The 28-year-old spent the last week on crutches with his leg immobilised after suffering ligament damage in Barca’s win over Las Palmas at the end of September, but he abandoned them on Monday and moved on to the second phase of his rehabilitation. 

He will now work with club physiotherapist Roger Girones for two weeks, with the plan to have him running in another fortnight, before slowly being integrated back into full training.  

Barca’s initial diagnosis was that their all-time top goalscorer would be out for a period of seven to eight weeks, which would see him return to action just in time for the trip to the Bernabeu to take on Rafa Benitez’s Madrid.

Argentina manager Gerard Martino has even suggested he could be back for the November internationals.



 


However, neither the club nor Messi’s brother, Rodrigo, who spoke to several Spanish radio stations last week, have been prepared to put a definitive date on the forward’s comeback.

Without Messi, Barcelona came through the game against Las Palmas in La Liga and then beat Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League thanks to late goals from Sergi Roberto and Luis Suarez. 

But they were dealt a blow at the weekend when second-half efforts from Michael Krohn-Dehli and Vicente Iborra helped Sevilla get the better of Luis Enrique’s side, who replied late on through a penalty from Neymar. 

Due to the international break, the Catalan side now have two weeks off before their next league game against Rayo Vallecano. 

While that normally means the bulk of the squad head off with their countries, Messi will be able to count on some good company at the club’s training ground as he continues his recovery — both Suarez and Neymar are serving international suspensions and will not meet up with Uruguay and Brazil respectively.