Barcelona have denied that star man Lionel Messi has suffered a relapse in his recovery from a calf injury, but admit they are taking extra care over his rehabilitation.
Spanish radio station RAC1 have claimed that the Argentine had suffered a relapse of the calf injury that has been keeping him out since the start of August during a training session on Tuesday.
This would've delayed his return by a month but, as reported by Sport, the club insist that the claim is untrue – and that the Argentine didn't even train on Tuesday.
They are, however, being extremely careful with his rehabilitation, and are understandably not keen to rush him back too quickly ahead of a pivotal season, with his recovery not quite as smooth as was once anticipated.
In light of this, the forward was kept out of training on Wednesday as well, and will thus likely miss Barca's upcoming La Liga clash against Osasuna - who are one place ahead of them in the table in eighth - on Saturday.
It is understood they see the forthcoming 15-day international break at the start of September as the perfect chance to bring Messi
Summer signing Frenkie de Jong was also kept apart from the main squad in training, going through what the club described as 'specific individual work', in turn refusing to go into the specifics of what this meant.
Gerard Pique has played 500 times for Barcelona! — 90min (@90min_Football) August 27, 2019
✅ 360 wins
欄 90 draws
❌ 50 defeats
⚽️ 46 goals
Legend of the game! pic.twitter.com/XzIDYIotUo
In his and Messi's stead, Iñaki Peña and Carles Pérez of Barça B, and 16-year-old Ansu Fati of the Under-19s A side, who made his debut in the 5-2 victory over Real Betis on Sunday, all joined Ernesto Valverde's first-team training session.
With that appearance on the weekend, Fati became the second-youngest ever Blaugrana debutant.