Lionel Messi is ready, ready, ready to run and kick…
The 26-year-old Argentine soccer star, the four-time Ballon d’Or / FIFA World Player of the Year, has been cleared by coach Gerardo Martino to play in FC Barcelona’s Copa del Rey clash with Getafe on Wednesday.
Messi returned to full training with his team last week but didn’t play in Sunday’s 4-0 Primera Division home win over Elche, after which Martino suggested there were still some doubts over his fitness afterseveral similar thigh muscle setbacks during 2013.
But Martina announced in a news conference on Tuesday that a few more training sessions had helped Messi build up the fitness needed to return after 58 days on the sidelines.
“What has changed is that he has a few training sessions done now,” he said. “Before the Elche game he had only two or three, and now he has trained some more days and has done a period of good work. All he needs to do now is take part in a competitive game.
“This was the normal way to do things, and everything should hopefully continue as normal from now on. We will find out tomorrow if Messi starts or not.”
Martino said any player who had been through a frustrating spell of injuries needed confirmation that they were fully fit again.
“When a player has had many injuries in a short amount of time, there can be doubts in their head,” he added. “I have spoken with him — he is fine now, so he is back in the squad. Maybe he is lacking some match fitness, but that does not matter with him. It just matters that he is fit again.”