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Messi back to training after decision to stay with Barcelona

Lionel Messi was seen driving into the Ciutat Esportiva in Sant Joan Despi at just after 4:00 pm (1400 GMT) on Monday, where he is expected to take part in training for the first time under new coach Ronald Koeman, almost two weeks after he had told the club he wanted to leave.

After reluctantly changing his mind about leaving, Messi was back with the team to prepare for the new season and practiced separately from the rest of the squad because he still needs to undergo a second coronavirus test before rejoining them.

Messi revealed in his interview with last week he wasn´t happy with Barcelona but would rather stay than get into a legal battle with the club. He told the club he wanted to leave on Aug. 25 and had not reported for the squad´s required coronavirus testing a week ago. He also had not showed up when his teammates resumed training last week.

The Spanish league begins this weekend, but Barcelona will not start its season until the end of the month with a home game against Villarreal.

If he has passed his coronavirus test, Messi could also begin by training alone before joining the rest of the group later in the week.

The Argentinian superstar said on Friday in his explosive interview with Goal that he would continue to give his best for Barca, despite admitting defeat in his bid to depart for free.

The return of Barcelona’s embittered captain and greatest ever player may not be an easy one, particularly given some of his closest team-mates are likely to be absent.

Luis Suarez, Messi’s best friend and neighbour, as well as Arturo Vidal, are expected to join Juventus and Inter Milan respectively.

It will also be the first time Messi has trained under Koeman, who was appointed Barca’s new coach last month.

“Now I don’t know what will happen,” Messi said on Friday.

“There is a new coach and new ideas. That’s good, but then we have to see how the team responds and whether or not it will allow us to compete at the top level. What I can say is that I’m staying and I’m going to give my best for Barcelona.”

If Messi passes his coronavirus test and restarts training without problems, he could feature in Barcelona’s friendly against Gimnastic Tarragona on Saturday.

A more realistic reintroduction might be against Girona four days later.

Barcelona have been given an extra two weeks off to recover before they start their La Liga season against Villarreal, scheduled for 27 September.

Credit: Football Tribe Malaysia