Messi sprints at Barcelona training as ace aims for to be fit for Mallorca

Lionel Messi was pictured sprinting as he trained at Camp Nou on Saturday, just a week before Barcelona are due to resume their La Liga campaign.

The Catalans confirmed this week that Messi has a quadriceps injury and cannot train as normal with the rest of the first-team squad.

The Barca captain continued to work separately on Saturday but photographs released by the club indicate his recovery is on track.

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The league leaders return to action against Real Mallorca on June 13 in their first game since the season was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Nelson Semedo also trained away from the squad as the full-back works on fitness problems of his own.

Barca trained at Camp Nou as head coach Quique Setien is keen for his players to get used to playing inside an empty stadium.

All La Liga matches are to be held behind closed doors for the foreseeable future in order to limit the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Lionel Messi Barcelona 2019-20
Lionel Messi Barcelona 2019-20

Messi, meanwhile, continues to be the Catalans' key player, having scored 24 goals and laid on a further 16 in all competitions this season.

He has been especially prolific in La Liga, netting 19 times in 22 outings, making him Spain's leading marksman.

The 32-year-old, however, will require a grandstand conclusion to the season if he is to win the European Golden Boot. He trails Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski by 10 goals, while in Serie A, Lazio's Ciro Immobile has 27.

Messi's great rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, is among three other players to have tallied more in Europe's major leagues this season, with the Juventus striker having netted 21 times.

The chief target of the Argentine, however, will be to close out another league title for Barca.

Although they suffered a 2-0 loss against Real Madrid shortly before the suspension of the season, a 1-0 win over Real Sociedad pushed them back to the summit of the standings, two clear of their Clasico rivals with 11 games to play.

They also retain an active interest in the Champions League but were held to a 1-1 draw away to Napoli in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

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