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Lionel Messi has a minor muscle injury and is training separately as a precaution ahead of the restart of the Spanish league next week, Barcelona said Friday.

The club said Messi has a right thigh ailment and is “doing specific exercises to avoid unnecessary risks with just eight days” before the team resumes its title defence. Barcelona said Messi “should be able to rejoin his teammates in a few days’ time”.

Barcelona visit Mallorca on 13 June in their first match since the league was suspended nearly three months ago because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Messi had already trained separately on Wednesday. He and the rest of the squad had a rest day on Thursday. Barcelona said Saturday’s training session will take place at the Camp Nou instead of the team’s training centre.

Messi missed nearly two months at the beginning of the season after hurting a calf muscle in the first preseason training. He is the league leading scorer with 19 goals, five more than Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema. Messi also has the most assists, with 12.

Barcelona said forward Ansu Fati also trained individually on Friday, though they did not say why.

Defender Clement Lenglet is set to miss the trip to Mallorca because of an accumulation of yellow cards. But striker Luis Suarez, who underwent right knee surgery in January and was expected to miss the rest of the season before the pandemic struck, has been practising normally and is expected to be back in action in Mallorca.

Ousmane Dembele is not likely to return as he continues to recover from a serious hamstring problem.

Barcelona have a two-point lead over Real Madrid with 11 rounds remaining.

Madrid resume on 14 June against Eibar at Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium in the club’s training centre as the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium continues to undergo renovation work.

The league’s first game will be the Seville derby between Sevilla and Real Betis on Thursday.

AP

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