Lionel Messi and Ivan Rakitic have been named in Luis Enrique’s squad for the game against Real Madrid. The Asturian coach took the decision to include them after they both came through Friday’s training session and were given the all-clear by the club’s medical team.
In his press conference earlier in the day, Luis Enrique had hinted Messi would be fine: “Since he’s returned to the squad for training, the feelings have been positive. He’s now recovered. I still have to speak with him’ it’s evident he won’t be at 100 percent, but he’s an important player and it’s great to have him back.”
Luis Enrique had also indicated that Rakitic would be available for the trip to the capital: “It’s the same situation as with Leo, even though his injury hasn’t been as long-term. He’s done the same, he’s trained this week and he is fine.”
With Messi in the squad, the only doubt now is whether he plays from the start or sits on the bench. Luis Enrique will decide in the hours before the game what to do. Whether he plays or not, Barcelona’s squad has demonstrated it can play to a good level without its Argentine star.
The most surprising aspect of the squad is the absence of Marc Bartra from the 18. Without any confirmed injury problem, it comes as a blow to the defender. There is also no member of the Barça B side travelling to the Santiago Bernabeu.
Full squad: Ter Stegen, Bravo, Piqué. Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Dani Alves, A. Iniesta, Suárez, Messi, Neymar Jr, Mascherano, Munir, Jordi Alba, Sandro, Sergi Roberto, Adriano, Vermaelen, Mathieu.