Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano return to Barcelona a week early

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The Barcelona duo of Javier Mascherano and Lionel Messi surprised Barcelona earlier today by returning to the club a week ahead of schedule, reports the Mirror. 

The Argentine duo, who played key roles in helping their national side reach the Copa America final earlier this summer, were set to be reunited with their teammates next Thursday, however have made a swift return, and will now undertake medical tests with the club.

After a lengthy 2015/16 campaign for Messi and Mascherano, which saw them help the Catalans secure the treble, it wasn't entirely surprising that their club handed them an extended break ahead of the new season, but it appears that they're ready to get back to it sooner rather than later. 


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As well as Messi and Mascherano, the trio of Neymar, Dani Alves and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen also returned today for medical tests. 

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique, then, will no doubt be pleased that his squad is coming together ahead of what could be another history-making season. 

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Of course, the Catalans will be hoping to make it back-to-back Champions League titles after beating Italian giants Juventus in last season's final. 

But it certainly won't be easy for Enrique and Co., who will no doubt be looking towards talisman Messi for inspiration once again. 

There's no doubt about it, Messi, who alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, is regarded by many as the world's best player, will have to be at his very best if the club are going to repeat last season's wonderful achievements. 

And, of course, they will have to deliver in the first half of the season without any new recruits. New signing Arda Turan, of course, won't be able to play for the club until January after the club's transfer ban, while they may yet lose wide-man Pedro, who has been linked with a move to Premier League outfit Manchester United. 

In truth, allowing the Spaniard a move to Old Trafford would prove a risk for the club, as a couple of high profile injuries could leave them vulnerable in the early stages of the campaign. But Barcelona will no doubt start as favourites to retain both their La Liga and European titles. 

Will Messi lead Barcelona to European success again? Have your say below! 

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