There was a feeling of uncertainty in Milan until Lionel Messi finally confirmed that he would be watching the match from the stands rather than being out on the pitch. Relaxed and surrounded by the man he trusts the most, Pepe Costa, he watched his teammates come away with the one point they needed to secure their place in the knockout stages. On Wednesday the squad had a day off to rest but Leo turned up at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper to train alone and continue his comeback from injury.
It's been exactly 23 days since Messi last stepped onto the pitch in an official match. This was against Sevilla where he had to leave the field after just 26 minutes. The coaching staff, the player and medical team decided that he wasn't needed for the Inter game. There was no need to rush him back in a match that wasn't important.
he'll return for the big one against atletico
Messi has returned to training alongside his teammates this Thursday and, as was the case in Milan, he appears ready to go. There hasn't been any official confirmation as to whether or not he'll be involved against Real Betis at the Camp Nou. The squad that Valverde names should indicate how far long in the recovery process Messi truly is. The player is who will decide whether to return against Betis or wait until after the international break so he's 100% for the game against Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano.
At 31 years of age, Leo is mature enough to know whether there's a slight risk or not and if it's better to wait until the 24th November. If he trains on Friday and Saturday as normal and feels 100%, he'll be out on the Camp Nou pitch on Sunday.
Another person edging closer to a return is Samuel Umtiti. He also trained alongside his teammates and his knee issues appear to have been resolved. In his case however, it's almost impossible we'll see him in the lineup against Betis. The two week international break has come at just the right time for the defender so he can work on his fitness and form so that he's ready for the next part of Barcelona's challenge to win every trophy available.