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Messi joins first team-training ahead of LaLiga match next week

Barcelona, ??Jun 6 (efe-epa).- Lionel Messi returned to training on Saturday at FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou where he joined the rest of the team for the first time since the three-month coronavirus lockdown.

Messi had missed the previous two team training sessions due to an injury in his quadriceps.

The Argentine player continued to exercise on the sidelines with a specialized workout although this time he jumped onto the turf alongside Nelson Semedo.

Engulfed by the empty stands of the Camp Nou, the first squad players began the training session with warm-up exercises and rounds, before playing a training match between two teams.

According to Barcelona, ??the gray team sporting Champions League training gear was made up of Ter Stegen, Sergi Roberto, Clément Lenglet, Samuel Umtiti, Jorge Cuenca, Sergio Busquets, Riqui Puig, Ivan Rakitic, Martin Braithwaite, Antoine Griezmann and Ansu Fati .

The other team sporting yellow included Neto, Chumi, Gerars Piqué, Ronald Araujo, Jordi Alba, Frenkie De Jong, Arthur Melo, Arturo Vidal, Alex Collado, Luis Suárez and Kike Saverio.

The final result was 3-1 in favor of the yellows with goals from Piqué, Saverio and Suárez, while Braithwaite netted the only goal for the gray team.

On Sunday the team will rest before kicking off LaLiga next week in a match that will see Barça face off against Mallorca.

Barcelona ??will resume LaLiga to defend its lead with a margin of two points over Real Madrid, its most immediate pursuer.

In the eleven finals that remain the Catalan team will be seeking to grasp its third consecutive domestic title, something that has not been achieved since the victories of 2009-2011.

Coach Quique Setién, who in January replaced Ernesto Valverde, now faces his first opportunity to secure an official title as coach leading a team that, despite being in the lead, had a mixed performance before the pandemic put LaLiga on hold.

Barça will face a demanding schedule for a short squad whose key players are all over 30 years old.

This is the case of Messi, Piqué, Busquets and Alba, fixed in Setien’s plans, as well as Rakitic and Vidal, who must face matches every three or four days.

Luis Suárez (33 years old), will almost certainly return and who has been recovering from right knee meniscus surgery.

Suarez’s return will breathe fresh air into a short squad that has been depleted after transfers during the winter market.

Braça will play five games at the Camp Nou and six as a visitor.

The most demanding duels for the team (Athletic, Atlético and Espanyol) will be on home turf where they have proven to be more solid this season.

Visits to Seville and Villarreal will be the toughest, and matches against Celta, Mallorca and Valladolid may also present a test for Setién’s team.EFE-EPA

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