Leo Messi finally returned to FC Barcelona after an extended summer break, gave another speech at the Gamper Trophy match, then returned to preseason training with the club this morning. However his plans were thrown away almost immediately as he was unable to finish the session and has now been ruled out of the club's tour of the United States and is a doubt for the LaLiga opener against Athletic Club.
1.- Misses the US Tour
After going far in this summer's Copa America, Messi joined up with the squad later than most. The US tour was to be where Messi would step out onto the pitch for the first time.
It would have also allowed him to connect and get to know the new signings at the club such as Frenkie de Jong, Antoine Griezmann, Junior Firpo and Neto.
His calf injury, and being forced to remain in Spain, means none of that can happen.
2.- Preseason injuries could cost Messi later on
Injuries are never welcome but least of all during preseason. This is when you build up your fitness for the long campaign ahead and any setback can cause him to be behind the level of your teammates.
This late start will mean it'll take longer for Messi to get up to speed. That rush to return could also create new, smaller injuries too.
Ernesto Valverde and his team must ensure that Messi arrives at the end of the season in peak physical condition, even if it means putting him on an individual training regime.
3.- A doubt for the LaLiga opener
Although it's only a minor injury, it makes him a doubt for the LaLiga opener against Athletic Club. We are only 12 days away from that contest and even though Leo could be given the green light to play, it doesn't seem like a risk worth taking.
If Messi returns, he's only going to have a couple of training sessions under his belt. No doubt the player will be desperate to play but there are still 37 gameweeks to go and the season won't be decided on the opening day.
4.- Financial penalty for not appearing in the United States
Messi's injury has one further consequence for Barcelona - this time, financial. The club had contractually agreed that Messi would appear in both friendly matches against Napoli.
As this can no longer happen, Barça will be forced to pay a penalty. Messi has already missed the Japan tour where Barça faced Chelsea and Vissel Kobe.