FC Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi will make his much awaited return to the first team squad as his side take on bitter rivals Real Madrid in the first Clasico of the season.


Messi has been out of action since mid-September, when he injured the ligaments in his knee after sustaining a heavy challenge while playing against La Liga new boys Las Palmas. In the absence of Messi, the South American duo of Neymar and Luis Suarez have propelled FC Barcelona to the top of the league table through their scintillating displays of attacking football.

Given the excellent partnership of Neymar and Suarez upfront, it will be interesting to see if Luis Enrique opts to put the fit again Lionel Messi in the starting lineup against Real Madrid.

Don’t know if Messi will start against Real Madrid: Enrique

Speaking to the media ahead of his side’s much anticipated clash against Real Madrid, Luis Enrique revealed that Argentine superstar Lionel Messi has returned to full training and is fit to play in the first Clasico of the season. However, the decision to start the Argentine will be taken an hour before the match according to the Asturian.

“Whether Messi plays or not — I prefer him to play, of course — the great news is that he is fit again,” said Barcelona manager Luis Enrique (via ESPN FC). “When will I make the decision about Messi starting or not? I’ll talk today with him, tomorrow, and it’ll be decided an hour before the game.”

“We know he’s not going to be 100 percent fit, coming back from injury, depends how he feels, but it’s great for us he’s back.”

“Only the player can only tell you how he is feeling.”

Enrique further went on to reveal that Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic had recovered in time from the calf strain he suffered a fortnight ago to feature against Real Madrid on Saturday.

“[Rakitic] is good,” Enrique said. “I will speak with him after training and see what feedback I get. But it is good to have him back with us.”

The return of Lionel Messi has given a huge boost to Luis Enrique and Barcelona ahead of the Clasico against Real Madrid. While Neymar and Suarez have done well to carry the mantle of the team in the Argentine’s absence, Messi is class par excellence. He will most likely come off the bench against the Los Merengues . and have a major say on the outcome of the match.