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Football Reporting


Barcelona’s Messi struggling with injury ahead of Supercopa semifinal

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is still struggling with the injury that saw him taken off in the second half of Saturday’s win against Granada.

Messi, 33, was unable to train with his teammates on Wednesday and is considered a major doubt for the Spanish Supercopa semifinal against Real Sociedad.

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Barca have not commented on the nature of Messi’s problem but a source told ESPN he may not even be available for a potential final — if the Catalans beat La Real — on Sunday against either Real Madrid or Athletic Bilbao.

Messi was unable to complete Tuesday’s session at the Estadio El Arcangel in Cordoba, where Wednesday’s semifinal will take place. Barca trained again on Wednesday ahead of the Real Sociedad game but Messi didn’t even board the bus for the session, instead remaining at the team’s hotel.

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The Barcelona captain has started 2021 in good form. He has scored four times in his last two games, including a brace in the 4-0 win over Granada at the weekend. However, he was taken off with 25 minutes to go in that game after television cameras showed him feeling the hamstring on his left leg.

Coach Ronald Koeman confirmed before training on Tuesday that the Argentina international has a slight niggle but appeared optimistic he would be available to face Real Sociedad.

A source has told ESPN that this optimism has changed to pessimism after Messi dropped out of Tuesday’s session early.

Barca are also without long-term absentees Gerard Pique, Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto and Philippe Coutinho for this week’s Supercopa.

Ronald Araujo has returned from the thigh problem which kept him out of the Granada game, though, while 17-year-old midfielder Ilaix Moriba has also travelled with Koeman’s squad to Andalusia to make up the numbers.

Barca face La Real in the first semifinal on Wednesday, with Real Madrid playing Athletic Bilbao in Malaga in the other semifinal on Thursday. The final will take place in Seville on Sunday.

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