Lionel Messi out for Barcelona until international break

Ernesto Valverde will not risk Lionel Messi against Osasuna and instead plans to let him recover from injury in the international break.

Lionel Messi is expected to make his Barcelona return against Valencia after the international break.   -  Getty Images

Lionel Messi is expected to return for Barcelona in the La Liga match with Valencia after the international break, head coach Ernesto Valverde has confirmed.

The Argentina star has not made a competitive appearance for Barca since last season's defeat to Marcelino's side in the Copa del Rey final.

A calf injury sustained shortly before Barcelona's pre-season double-header with Napoli in the United States saw Messi miss the 1-0 defeat to Athletic Bilbao and the 5-2 win over Real Betis with which the champions began their 2019-20 campaign.

The 32-year-old will not be risked against Osasuna on Saturday and will instead be given more time to recover fully ahead of a busy run of games in September.

After the international break, which begins next week, Barca hosts Valencia, travels to Borussia Dortmund for their opening Champions League group game and then faces Granada and Villarreal, all within the space of 11 days.

"He's following a normal recovery process," Valverde said of Messi on Friday. "We hope he can be available against Valencia. We hope to have him but we'll see how the injury evolves in these two weeks."

- Valverde fed up of Neymar return talks -

Valverde has grown sick and tired of discussing Neymar's possible return to Barcelona and is looking forward to Monday's transfer deadline.

The latest claims from Spain say Barca has effectively given up hope of re-signing Neymar in this transfer window as PSG is unwilling to lower its demands for a significant cash return on a player it signed for €222million only two years ago.

It is also suggested that players such as Ivan Rakitic and Ousmane Dembele have refused to be included in a possible part-exchange deal as they do not wish to join the Ligue 1 champion.

"I'm really looking forward to that day coming and we can give everything a rest and we all know the state of everything because this has been going on a long time," he said.

"On the subject of Neymar, I have nothing to say. He's a player at another team. We respect our rivals and we'll see what happens."

He added of Rakitic: "He is a great player who has played a lot here and nothing makes me think he won't be here."

Valverde was asked what Dembele, who is sidelined with a hamstring strain, must do to find consistent form and fitness and win over his doubters in Catalonia.

"At the moment, he is injured," the Barca coach replied. "We'll have to wait and see. I'm not going to comment on anything on Dembele."

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