Lionel Messi has been ruled out of Barcelona’s squad for the two games against Napoli in the United States this week after injuring his calf in his first training session back.
Messi picked up the knock during training on Monday and will not travel to the U.S with the rest of his teammates.
“Messi withdrew from the session due to discomfort in his right leg,” Barca said in a statement. “Tests carried out have diagnosed a Grade 1 calf strain for the Argentine.
“Messi will remain in Barcelona and will now not travel to the USA for the club’s tour. His availability to come back to action will be dictated by his recovery from the injury.”
The Argentina international’s participation in the Copa America meant he wasn’t cited to return to training until Monday. However, while he didn’t play, he was present for Sunday’s win over Arsenal at Camp Nou.
Speaking in his role as captain before the game, he told supporters he didn’t regret pledging to win the Champions League last season despite the humiliating loss against Liverpool in the semifinal.
“It’s difficult to say anything after last season,” he said. “But I don’t regret anything and I would say the same thing again. I back these players and the coaching staff we have. Together, we’re going to fight to win everything.
“Last season ended with a bitter taste, but we have to give value to La Liga, the eighth we have won in 11 years. That’s important and maybe we don’t give enough value to what we have done.”
Neither Messi nor Luis Suarez were part of the club’s tour to the U.S last summer because of their involvement at the World Cup.
Coutinho and Vidal also returned to training on Monday, while new signing Junior Firpo trained with his new teammates for the first time. All three will travel to the U.S., with coach Ernesto Valverde naming a full squad for the trip, Messi aside.
Barca play Napoli at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Wednesday before flying to Michigan to face the Italians again as they step up preparations for their curtain-raiser against Athletic Bilbao next weekend.
The Spanish champions are also holding a number of fan events while in the U.S. as they look to get closer to their American supporters — a market of particular interest to president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
Some of the first-team squad are due to appear at a “Barca Fest” which is being held at Bayfront Park in Miami on Tuesday, with artists Pedro Capo and Play N Skillz set to perform.