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Barca boost as Messi returns to training

MESSI-CLASSICOMADRID, Spain, April 18 – Barcelona were given a huge boost on Thursday as Argentine superstar Lionel Messi returned to training ahead of next week’s Champions League semi-final first-leg at Bayern Munich.

The four-time world player of the year has struggled with a right thigh injury that limited his appearance in the quarter-final to an inspirational second-half cameo during the second leg elimination of Paris Saint-Germain.

“The big news about Thursday’s training was Leo Messi,” read a statement on the club website fcbarcelona.com.

“The Argentine suffered a thigh injury during the 2-2 first leg at the Parc des Princes (2-2 against PSG) but has returned to training.”

Following Barca’s win against the French club, on the away goals rule after a 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou, Messi has since missed the 3-0 Liga victory over Real Zaragoza but is now set to play a role in the crucial first-leg tie at the Allianz Arena.

More good news for the four-time European champions is the return to training of key utility player Sergio Busquets, who also missed the Zaragoza tie with a groin problem.

Both players are likely to be rested or used sparingly for Saturday’s league match against Levante.

Barcelona currently lead arch rivals and fellow Champions League semi-finalists Real Madrid by 13 points with seven matches to play.

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