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    Messi fit for La Liga return as Barca boss Setien has ‘no doubts’

    The Argentine has been cleared to face Real Mallorca on Saturday despite prior injury concerns

    Barcelona head coach Quique Setien said he did not have “any doubts” over Lionel Messi’s fitness as the superstar captain prepares to face Real Mallorca.

    Messi returned to group training on Monday following concerns over a quadriceps injury that forced the six-time Ballon d’Or winner to train away from the squad.

    Setien had previously stated that Messi is “perfectly fine” as the Barcelona boss addressed the superstar’s physical condition after the Argentine trained by himself last week.

    La Liga resumes on Thursday following a three-month break enforced by the coronavirus pandemic, with leaders Barca – two points clear of Real Madrid through 27 game – visiting Mallorca on Saturday.

    Messi is set to face Mallorca after Setien told Catalunya Radio: “We didn’t have any doubts over his availability against Mallorca.

    “There have also been others with [injury] problems. He stopped [training] out of precaution.”

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    After facing Mallorca, Barcelona will host Leganes three days later before taking visiting Sevilla on June 19 for a third match in six days. 

    Meanwhile, Luis Suarez has been declared fit to play for Barca in their final 11 matches of the 2019-20 season after recovering from the knee operation he underwent in January.

    Suarez had surgery on the external meniscus of his right knee at the start of the year, having reportedly struggled with the issue for several months at that point.

    Setien, however, is unsure whether the 33-year-old Uruguay international forward will start away to Mallorca.

    “It’s something that we have to talk about,” Setien said. “I’m sure he could play from the start. It would be hasty for him to play the whole match. We don’t know if he’ll play from start to finish.

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    “He’s doing very well, but we have to avoid putting him at risk. Any [injury] problem makes you miss three or four matches, which would be very damaging.”

    Setien added: “He’s an extraordinary player. He has some qualities that any team would want.

    “He’s very active, he puts a lot of pressure on opponents and defences, his movement is good and he has great effectiveness. He’s a great addition, without doubt.”

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