Lionel Messi wants to play for Barcelona in the Supercopa de Espana final against Athletic Club on Sunday despite recent injury issues, Goal understands.
Messi missed the semi-final penalty win over Real Sociedad after suffering from some discomfort in the 4-0 victory over Granada on January 9.
The Argentine star scored twice in that game, adding to an excellent run of form which had seen him rack up 10 goals in 11 games in La Liga.
He had been expected to return to the squad for the Real Sociedad fixture but didn’t make the bench, leading to doubts over his participation against Athletic Club.
"There are several players with discomfort, one of them is Messi, that is why we withdrew him in Granada," Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman said on Tuesday. "It seems that everyone is available for tomorrow, also [Ronald] Araujo, although a preparatory session is missing. It is a match against a strong team and we can take the next step."
Messi trained on Sunday morning and seemed in good touch, and his competitive nature means he is unlikely to want to sit the game out with silverware on the line.
His record against Athletic over the years is excellent, and the Supercopa will no doubt conjure memories of his sublime goal against the same opponents in the 2015 Copa del Rey final, beating five defenders before smashing a low shot past goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz in one of the individual highlights of his career so far.
Ronald Koeman has made clear that the final decision over Messi’s participation will be made by the player himself, so it is likely he will play some part.
“Leo trained individually [on Friday],” Koeman said in Saturday’s press conference. “We train today at six and we'll see.
“We will see what he thinks, whether he thinks he is ready or not. The player will have the last word as always. He knows his body better than anyone else.
"We will have to see [Sunday] morning following this afternoon's training session, to see how his body reacts, if he is ready. We hope that he can be ready for the game.”
Messi and the rest of the Barcelona squad trained at Benito Villamarin early on Sunday and returned to the team hotel to rest ahead of the final.