MADRID: Barcelona assistant manager Jordi Roura has said he is hopeful Lionel Messi will be fully fit for the first-leg of his side's Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich in 10 days time.
The World Player of the Year was forced into action on Wednesday night against Paris Saint-Germain, despite carrying a hamstring injury, to help his side into the last four for the sixth consecutive season.
Messi has been left out of the squad for Sunday's league match away at Real Zaragoza to allow him to recuperate, but Roura is hopeful he will return to face the German champions.
“We will see how Messi's injury evolves,” he told a press conference on Saturday.
“Fortunately, the injury has not worsened. We hope that between now and the 23rd he can get back to full condition.”
Sergio Busquets will also miss the trip to Zaragoza due to a pelvic problem, whilst Andres Iniesta and Jordi Alba have been left out to give them a rest.
And their absence provoked Roura to join the increasing band of club coaches to criticise the impact that participation in international fixtures has had on his players.
“The calendar has been terrible. On top of all the competitions, we have had many internationals for Spain.
“Moreover, unfortunately, we have had a lot of injuries. If you combine all of this, it is true that we are a little squeezed.
“But the squad is big, despite all the difficulties we have overcome it and look where we are; first in the league and in the semis of the Champions League.”
Despite missing a number of key players though, Roura is determined for Barca to consolidate their 13-point lead at the top of the table this weekend.
“It is true that we are coming from a difficult game in Champions League and with a lot of players out, but the squad has shown it has a great level.
“Zaragoza are in a difficult situation and therefore it will be a very difficult game.
“They are playing for a lot and the game will be at six o'clock when it will still be warm and the pitch might not be great. All these things will make it more difficult.”
Finally, Roura also gave his thoughts on drawing four-times European champions Bayern in the Champions League semi-finals.
“All the opponents that we could have faced were difficult. I think the two best teams in Europe over the past few years are facing each other.
“We have both got to two finals in recent times and I am not going to discover Bayern, we have already seen how the beat Juventuss. They are very strong.
“In the majority of ties, Barcelona are used to being favourites. This time it might not be the case.
“This is conditioned by the previous game. Bayern won with ease and we suffered against PSG.
“I think it will be a well-balanced tie that will be decided by fine details.”