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Lionel Messi back training with group ahead of Real Betis clash

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The Argentine star could feature

FC Barcelona v Arsenal - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Jose Breton/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Lionel Messi is finally back training with the group after an injury he sustained in the first training session of preseason. He had previously returned to training alone and missed Barcelona’s opener against Athletic Club Bilbao.

He was training alone this morning but rejoined the group in the afternoon. It’s been 16 days since his calf muscle injury, but it seems the player could be ready to be a part of the next match in La Liga.

It remains to be seen how he does in the next few days of training, which will dictate how much he can play, if at all. The timing of the injury means he missed out completely on preseason so his fitness levels may be relatively low as well. One possibility is that he comes off the bench.

Ernesto Valverde also called up B team players Iñaki Peña, Chumi, Carles Pérez, and Abel Ruiz, in addition to Juvenil A player Ansu Fati, for the training session.

Pérez may play a role with the injuries to Messi, Luis Suárez, and Ousmane Dembélé in mind. Antoine Griezmann is expected to start upfront, as is Rafinha.