Lionel Messi has returned to training following a hamstring injury ahead of Barcelona’s upcoming Champions League semi-final tie, according to reports in Marca.com.
The Argentine front-man is recovering from an injury in the club’s previous Champions League tie, where he hobbled off the pitch with the strain against the nouveau riche of Paris St. Germain.
With Bayern Munich next on the slate for the Catalan side, Messi’s return has been optimistically welcomed by the club. His return to training could mean that Messi is fit enough to play a decisive role in the fixture.
But with just a couple of weeks to go until the first leg, there remain questions over whether Messi will be able to sustain a full 90 minutes.
Top of La Liga, Barcelona are gunning for their third Cha mpions League crown since 2008. A record four-time winner of the Ballons d’Or, Messi has already bagged 57 goals this season from just 46 appearances for the club, and will be essential if the team are to lift the trophy.
Widely regarded as the best player in the world, Messi’s form suggests he could be a significant threat to the Bayern defense. The flair-footed striker sits second in the Champions League goals table for this season so far, and his role in getting Barca to this stage in the competition has been – as it is every season – more than significant.
While Messi is still a slight doubt for the April 23rd fixture, the Barcelona backroom and fans alike will be willing his speedy recovery before the trip to Germany.
Sport tickets platform StubHub.com said Messi could be an essential ingredient in breaking down a Munich side tha t has dominated German football this season.
“Jupp Heynckes’ Bayern side are never an easy prospect, even for Barcelona. With their total dominance domestically all season and strong performances in Europe to this stage, Barcelona will need to be firing on all cylinders to prevail. That means Messi needs to be match fit and ready to make an impact, which will give Barca the best chance of a place in the final.”
The 25-year old’s return to training is regarded as a positive sign, suggesting he may well feature in the away leg of the semis.
An away goal from Messi could be all the difference. With a proven track record in front of goal and 8 successful strikes in the competition already this year, only a fool could write him off.
The final could set-up a head to head with bitter La Liga rivals Real Madrid, who take on German runners-up Dortmund in the other of the semi-final ties.