Messi ready for 90 minutes but Barcelona playing it safe with Suarez – Setien



The Blaugrana head coach had good news over the star Argentine’s fitness, but revealed caution about his strike partner.

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are ready to start for Barcelona against Real Mallorca, head coach Quique Setien has confirmed.

Barca return to La Liga action on Saturday with a trip to Son Moix following the coronavirus-enforced break, and a win over relegation-threatened opponents will see them extend their lead at the summit.

Spain’s reigning champions sit two points clear of rivals Real Madrid, who are not in action until Sunday when they host Eibar in the capital.

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Messi’s fitness was a major concern ahead of the resumption – the talismanic forward dealing with a quadriceps injury – but he has suffered no further setbacks since returning to training with the rest of the squad at the start of the week.

“He’s ready to play, he’s perfectly okay. He’s trained well, there is no problem,” Setien said as his pre-match media conference.

“Messi and a lot of these players know how to gauge things and how to save their strength when necessary.

“As for breaks, we’ll see. For some, the more time they’re on the pitch, the better.”

As for Suarez, the striker had seemingly been set to miss the remainder of the 2019-20 campaign with a knee injury before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now the Uruguay international is back for the rearranged season run-in, both in terms of domestic duties and the Champions League.

However, Setien will be cautious with a player who is returning from a lengthy lay-off, meaning Suarez will not play the whole game against Mallorca.

“Surely he is to be a starter, but not for the full 90 minutes,” the Barca boss explained.

“We will not take risks after five months. It will be good for him to play and he will need games to be the same as he was before.”

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Suarez has scored 14 goals in all competitions this season but has not featured since January 9.

Barcelona are still alive in the Champions League round-of-16, having drawn 1-1 with Napoli at the San Paolo in the first leg of their tie.

The date of the second match is yet to be scheduled, but the Blaugrana are in the box seat having picked up an away goal in Naples.



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