Valverde still waiting on Messi update ahead of Sevilla trip

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde does not yet know if he will be able to pick Lionel Messi for Saturday's game at Sevilla.

Lionel Messi in Argentina training   -  Getty Images

Lionel Messi remains a doubt for Barcelona's trip to Sevilla in LaLiga on Saturday, coach Ernesto Valverde has confirmed.

A hamstring injury kept Messi out of both Argentina matches during the international break, including a 6-1 thumping in Madrid at the hands of Spain.

Messi took part in some of Thursday's session, but with a Champions League quarter-final against Roma coming next week Valverde is prepared to give the forward time to prove his fitness.

"We have to wait, we are taking care of him, like Argentina did," Valverde told a media conference on Friday. "Football players are used to having these little niggles during parts of the season, they're used to putting up with it.

"Players can control it but you have to try not to go over the limit. We'd love to have all the players at 100 per cent but we know someone will have a knock or a twinge after the game. At the moment we need to see how we get on in training today.

"It makes it difficult in one way. But it happened in the last game away at Malaga, Messi was missing at the last minute, we played with 11 men in a slightly different way [Barca won 2-0]. But when you don't have a player like Leo we have alternatives, but it is different.

"He seems relaxed, we've been talking about how things are with Andres [Iniesta] and the other players. Every player likes to win. I'm not going to go into criticism, we are all used to that so it's nothing. There is nothing unusual in terms of his morale."

Valverde accepts he is taking Wednesday's Champions League tie against Roma into account when considering his team to face Sevilla, especially as Barca face seven fixtures in a 22-day period.

"We're looking at the game tomorrow and trying to separate it from Wednesday's game," Valverde said. "Obviously you have to have a medium-term plan for a week or two and it's true the accumulation of games goes against you risking players.

"Tomorrow is important but so is the next one and the one after that. I want to try and separate them but you're always looking at the next game out of the corner of your eye."

Sergio Busquets will miss the trip to Seville with a toe injury, but Valverde is hopeful the midfielder will be available to face Roma.

"It's true he hasn't trained with the rest of the squad," Valverde added.

"We don't know if he can train today, he might come back next week but it's not definite yet."

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