The Barcelona boss says a decision will be left as late as possible on whether or not the Argentina star begins the match against Real Madrid
Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique has confirmed Lionel Messi is available for Saturday’s Clasico, but stressed he will not be “100 per cent fit” for the trip to Real Madrid.
Enrique wouldn’t be drawn on whether or not Messi will start the match at the Bernabeu, though, saying he will make a decision on his line-up as close to kick off as possible.
The Argentina international has been missing since the end of September when he injured ligaments in his knee against Las Palmas.
However, he has returned to training this week and could feature in this weekend’s top of La Liga clash.
“With respect to Leo, he’s back with the squad and the feelings are positive,” the Barca boss told a press conference.
“There’s still today’s [training] session and things we have to talk about. We know he won’t be 100 per cent, that’s impossible because he’s just coming back form injury, but it is great for us to know that he is recovered.”
Pushed on if Messi would start, Enrique responded: “I don’t have things planned yet. I will speak with Leo today and again tomorrow. An hour before the game, things will be decided.
“I watch all my players training, especially those coming back from injuries. You can see things, but it is the player who can tell you how he is feeling, how confident he is.
“I can tell you Leo is excited about his comeback. The great news is he is fit again.”
Ivan Rakitic is also in contention for the game against Real Madrid despite injuring his calf against BATE Borisov in the Champions League earlier this month.
Initial fears were that the Croatian midfielder would be out for a month, but he has trained this week and Enrique confirmed he is available for selection once again.