December 16, 2019
Sports

Barcelona will not risk Messi for La Liga opener

Messi sustained a calf injury in training last week and missed Barca's last two pre-season friendlies against Napoli.

They begin their title defence at San Mames this weekend and Valverde has said Messi is yet to train ahead of the match.

"We are not going to take risks with any player, even less with Leo," Valverde said in a press conference on Thursday.

"He hasn't trained or played with the team. We will wait a while but his recovery process is going well."

Valverde was also asked about a potential move for Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar as Barcelona and Real Madrid scrap to sign the Brazilian before the transfer window closes on September 2.

"I am not in the middle of these issues," Valverde said. "I focus on the team and players I have, I can't think about players in other teams.

"I have always kept a line of respect in that way because Neymar belongs to PSG. We will see what happens but I can't tell you anything about it."

Barcelona have already spent around 250 million euros this summer and it is believed any bid for Neymar would include players in the deal.

Nelson Semedo has been among those mentioned as possible makeweights, along with Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic.

"It all depends on performance," Valverde said, when asked about Semedo's future. "Until August 31 everything is open but we think and I hope that Nelson stays with us."

Barcelona will play Bilbao on Friday night, after a dispute between the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and La Liga was settled by a judge only last week.

La Liga claim Friday and Monday fixtures are important for existing television deals while the RFEF want them scrubbed, after they have proven unpopular with some sets of fans.

Matches scheduled on Mondays have been moved but current Friday games will go ahead.

"The war over the days is just incredible in my opinion," Valverde said. "The federation andRead More

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