Lionel Messi is ready to play for Barcelona in Saturday’s match at Atlético Madrid despite missing training on Friday for personal reasons, according to their coach, Luis Enrique.
Messi has not trained since returning from international duty with Argentina but is in the squad for the league match at the Vicente Calderón, which pits the champions against the 2013-14 title winners.
Spanish media reported that Messi was absent due to the birth of his second son, although there was no immediate confirmation from the club or the four-times world player of the year.
“Leo had the coach’s and the club’s permission to miss training for personal reasons,” Enrique told a press conference. “He is in the squad and tomorrow he will be available to play.
“We know the performance we and the players are capable of and we’ll see what happens tomorrow at the Calderón.“
Barça and Atlético both won their opening two matches of the season without conceding a goal and are level at the top of the table on six points with Celta Vigo and Eibar.
Barça are likely to be without the suspended centre-back Gerard Piqué on Saturday, unless an appeal against the sanction is successful. The Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo has been sidelined by a calf injury and will probably be replaced by the German international Marc-André ter Stegen.