After Barcelona successfully coped with the absence of its biggest star on Wednesday, it's time to get the best player in the world back on the pitch.
Coach Luis Enrique had a welcome return to training on Thursday following the 2-1 win at Athletic Bilbao: Lionel Messi practiced normally with his teammates after enjoying three full days of rest earlier this week. Messi was advised by the medical team not to play at the Basque Country in order to avoid further physical issues.
Messi left the game against Athletic last Sunday at halftime complaining of muscle pain, and while following tests showed no hamstring injury, he was rested by Enrique under doctors' orders at Bilbao. The team still got the win, Messi is now fully healthy and ready for the next matches. All according to plan.
The return of the world's best player gives the Blaugrana a huge weapon for one of the toughest games on the schedule in any Barça season: on the road, at La Rosaleda against Málaga. Luis Suárez, who also missed Wednesday's Cup game due to suspension, is also returning to the lineup to face Los Boquerones.
So the 'MSN' trio will be healthy and available, with a win against Bilbao in the bag under tough circumstances. If you were desperate, please don't be.