Barcelonas Roura prudent on Messi return

19 April 2013 02:16

Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura said Friday he would not rush back Lionel Messi, as the Argentine star recovers from a thigh injury and is unlikely to be risked in the next match against Levante.

"He (Messi) came back to training with the squad today (Friday) and that's good. But I think it's a little bit early for tomorrow against Levante. We will see how things stand after the final training session" on Saturday, Roura told reporters.

Messi picked up the injury in the Champions League quarter-final, first leg 2-2 draw at Paris Saint-Germain but did come on during the second leg, providing an assist on Pedro's crucial equaliser which took the Catalan club through to meet Bayern Munich.

The four-time world player of the year then missed last weekend's win at Real Zaragoza.

The priority is now Tuesday's Champions League semi-final first leg showdown with Bayern at the Allianz Arena.

"He's taking this period of convalescence calmly," insisted Roura, who admitted he has greater doubts about the fitness of central defensive pair Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano for the Bayern game.

"Puyol will definitely not be there for the first leg and it will be tough equally for the return. For Mascherano, he may make the return as he is progressing well. But it will be a close call, I think," said Roura.

Puyol has a knee problem while former Liverpool star Mascherano is battling ligament trouble suffered in the first game against PSG.

Roura also said Barca would wait on the fitness of French defender Eric Abidal, who is poised for a remarkable return after a year out following a liver transplant.

"We have to take it stage by stage -- after all he's been through it's already something that he is back in competition. We shall have to see how his situation evolves," said Roura.

"Anyway this decision (on Abidal's contract) will be taken at the end of the season."

Abidal, 33, has said that he would like to continue playing if his health holds up but his contract with Barca runs out in June and he has yet to hold talks with the club's management.

Roura said: "It is quite normal that Abidal wishes to keep on playing at a high level. He has worked hard to come back and is now available, as are the other players. He is a competitor, like the rest."

Source: AFP