Messi Returns To Barcelona Training Ahead Of El Clasico

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi was back in training on Monday, five days before they take on fierce rivals Real Madrid in the first El Clasico of the season at the Santiago Bernabeu, reports

Messi has not featured since sustaining a knee injury against Las Palmas at the end of September, depriving the Spanish and European champions of their talisman and top scorer.

Barca have performed well in the Argentina captain's absence, however, with Uruguay striker Luis Suarez and, especially, Brazil forward Neymar in fine form.

However, the 28-year-old's national side have struggled without their talisman in their first three World Cup qualifying games – picking up just four points from a possible nine so far.

According to a statement on Barcelona's official website:"The first team returned to training on Monday after three days rest and began with a minute’s silence in memory of the victims of the recent attacks in the French capital Paris."

"The session included Leo Messi, who is continuing his recovery from the left knee injury he picked up on Sept. 26,"

Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic, sidelined since damaging a calf muscle in the Champions League Group E game at home to BATE Borisov on November 4, was also back in training.

Goalkeeper Marc Andre ter Stegen was another player to return to the training pitch after a week out following dental surgery.

With 11 matches played, Barca, who are chasing a sixth La Liga title in eight years, lead Real by three points, with Atletico Madrid a further point behind in third.

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