Barcelona boss Luis Enrique has said he won’t put Lionel Messi’s health or Barca’s season at risk by rushing the Argentine back for his side’s clash against Real Madrid on November 21.
Messi has been sidelined for a month by a knee ligament injury that was originally estimated would keep him our for six to eight weeks.
However, the four-time World Player of the Year cast doubt on his presence for the trip to the Bernabeu last week by claiming he would only return when he feels 100 percent fit.
Messi has been left out by former Barca boss Gerardo Martino for Argentina’s World Cup qualifiers against Brazil and Colombia on November 13 and 17 respectively.
And Enrique insisted that with two thirds of the season still to play after El Clasico, it would be reckless to risk Messi suffering another serious injury.
“Within the team the only thing we are contemplating is that Leo Messi recovers 100 percent. That is the only thing that worries us,” Enrique said on Friday.
“Whether that is for one particular date or another is indifferent. There is so much of the season to go that the most important thing is that he fully recovers.”
Enrique was handed an injury boost on Friday, though, as midfielders Andres Iniesta and Sergi Roberto have both been passed fit to face Getafe on Sunday.
Iniesta has been sidelined for a month since pulling up with a hamstring injury in a 2-1 win over Bayern Leverkusen, whilst the versatile Roberto returns after just 10 days out due to a groin strain.
Their return comes at the perfect time for the European champions with Enrique’s midfield options reduced to the bare bones by Rafinha’s long-term knee injury and Javier Mascherano’s suspension for Barca’s next two league games.