Updated 12:09 PM EST, Thu, Nov 26, 2020

Lionel Messi's Recovered from Injury But Barc Coach Luis Enrique Still is Taking Precautions

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FC Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has shed more light on Lionel Messi's condition, following the Argentinian's unceremonious exit from Sunday's match against Athletic Bilbao.

The 45-year old Spaniard said he ultimately decided to field in Arda Turan for Messi, since the star forward was noticeably favoring his right leg during the first half of the match. The initial set of tests found that Messi did not sustain any major injury -- he was just experiencing a slight discomfort in his right hamstring.

The minor sprain was enough reason for Enrique to bench the five-time FIFA Ballon d'Or winner for the remainder of the match. He told The Express Tribune that Barca was already up 2-0 and he didn't want to risk aggravating Messi's hamstring.

The Camp Nou squad eventually went on to beat the Basques 6-0. Messi opened the scoring with an early penalty kick, while Luis Suárez scored a hat-trick. Neymar and Ivan Rakitic had one goal apiece.

Barca has two away trips this week. The team will travel to San Mamés on Wednesday to face Bilbao in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinals. They will then play Málaga in a league match at La Rosaleda on Saturday.

As a precautionary measure, Messi will not suit up against Bilbao. It's also unclear if Enrique will activate him for Saturday's contest. However, Messi fans in Málaga hoping to see their favorite striker in action shouldn't lose hope, since Barca will be training at Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The sessions will give Enrique enough time to access Messi's health and mobility.

Neymar will be the focal point of opposing teams' defense for the next couple of matches, since Sport English noted that Luis Suarez will be serving a prior suspension this week. Aleix Vidal and Arda Turan must step up their game in order for Barca to have a fighting chance.

It's worth mentioning that when Barca is healthy, they arguably have the most formidable attacking triumvirate in all of soccer. Messi and Neymar might be the most prolific goal scorers of this generation, but their teammate Luis Suárez has been picking up the pace as of late.

The Uruguayan fireball has netted 29 goals in 29 appearances for Barca. He has scored in 18 of those games, which means Enrique can expect two or three goals from him per outing.

Former team captain Xavi thinks Barca has an even brighter future ahead. He praised Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez for their stellar play, and commended Luis Enrique for bringing in players who can play both ends of the field, Goal reported.

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