All Eyes On Messi’s Foot As La Liga Returns After Break
The Argentine was unable to play in his country’s two friendly games during the break as a result of an injury to his right foot, reports Xinhua.
And although he trained on Thursday wearing training shoes, Barcelona fans will have to wait to see if he is able to take to the pitch in an away match against Celta Vigo as Barcelona look to defend their four-point lead over Real Madrid at the top of the table.
Barcelona’s game is the last of the weekend and their first game since defeating Real Madrid 2-1 in the Camp Nou Stadium.
Coach Luis Enrique has a full squad to choose from as midfielder Sergio Busquets has now fully recovered from the ankle injury which saw him miss the ‘Clasico’.
Although defeat to Barcelona has made their task of winning the title that much more difficult, the pro-Madrid press attempted to sell the loss as a turning point in the season after a month of poor form.
Whether that is true or not will probably be hard to discover from Real Madrid’s home game against Granada on Sunday. Real Madrid expect a full house at the Bernabeu stadium against a rival battling to avoid relegation.
The main focus of interest will be how winger Gareth Bale performs, after the Welshman was the Man of the Match in his country’s Euro 2016 qualifying tie a week ago. Observers couldn’t fail to note that given a free role for Wales rather than being subservient to the needs of strikers Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, Bale scored twice and set up a third goal.
Saturday will see attention fixed onto the battle for the top four, as Sevilla, who are fifth in the table, entertain Athletic Club Bilbao who with five consecutive wins are la Liga’s in-form side.
Sevilla know a win will keep their hopes of challenging Valencia and Atletico Madrid for a place in next season’s Champions League football tournament, while a victory for Athletic would give them hopes of overhauling seventh place Malaga.
Fourth-placed Atletico Madrid travel to bottom of the table Cordoba where striker Antoine Griezmann will be hoping to hit the target against a rival that have lost their last nine games.
Saturday also sees a relegation clash between Almeria and Levante, while Malaga aim to maintain their grip on a place in Europe when they play at home to an improving Real Sociedad.
As well as the big two in action, Sunday sees Valencia play a local derby against Villarreal. The match between the sides third and sixth in the table promises to see a contrast in styles between Villarreal’s passing game and a Valencia who are happier playing on the counter attack.
Getafe’s season could get a lot more complicated if they fail to beat Deportivo la Coruna, while the round of matches finishes on Monday when Espanyol are at home to Elche.