Lionel Messi has played down injury concerns ahead of Barcelona's game with Sporting Gijon on Saturday (23 April) by returning to the Friday training session with the rest of his teammates. Luis Enrique, meanwhile, has confirmed that despite some knocks during the victory over Deportivo de la Coruna he is fully fit to play against the third-from-bottom team the of La Liga table.
The Argentinian international sparked doubts over his participation in the crucial encounter with the Asturians after he couldn't take part in training on Thursday. Reports in Spain then suggested that the Ballon D'or had some niggles in his ankle, after he received some knocks during the 8-0 victory over Deportivo La Coruna on Wednesday. Yet, they added that his absence from the training session was just as a precaution and that he should be available for the weekend game with Sporting.
Messi has now allayed any major fears after returning to Friday's workout with the rest of his teammates, with the Argentinian looking fully fit along Neymar and Luis Suarez during the 15 minutes showed by Barcelona in their official website.
Luis Enrique, meanwhile, also confirmed the good news when asked about the Argentinian absence in the Thursday training session. The Barcelona boss said: "He was not too lucky with the knocks he received against Deportivo. But today (on Friday) he has trained and is in perfect condition (to play against Sporting)."
The news is a massive boost for Luis Enrique in hopes to win the La Liga title ahead of the last four games of the campaign with Sporting, Real Betis, Espanyol and Granada. Barcelona, furthermore, managed to bounce back from their three consecutive defeats to Real Madrid, Real Sociedad and Valencia during April with a 8-0 victory in their midweek visit to Deportivo to regain the confidence ahead of title race, being at the top of La Liga table ahead of Atletico Madrid thanks to goal difference and being one point above Real Madrid.
Luis Enrique, meanwhile, also recovers Gerard Pique for the game against Sporting after the centre-back missed the trip to Riazor due to suspension. Jeremy Mathieu, Sandro Ramirez and Thomas Vermaelen, meanwhile, are expected to remain on the sidelines due to injuries.