Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique has confirmed Leo Messi will be in the squad that travels to Real Madrid on Saturday but admits the Argentinian is still not 100 percent fit.
The game represents the first Clasico match of the season and a win for Barcelona will put them a commanding six points ahead of their main title rivals.
As arguably the greatest player of all time, Barcelona's chances of returning from the Bernabeu with all three points will be massively helped if Messi is able to play a part in the match.
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The four-time Ballon d'Or winner has been sitting on the sidelines since September after suffering knee ligament damage against Las Palmas, but has put himself in contention after returning to training during the recent international break.
And Enrique has described Messi's availability as "great news" as Real Madrid prepare to face possibly the most devastating attacking trio in world football.
Enrique told reporters on Friday:
"Regarding Leo, he's back with the squad, it's generally positive. He's fit, back training, and that's great news for us.
"There's still today's training session and things to talk about. We know he won't be 100 percent fit, that's impossible.
"I don't have things planned that well. I'll speak to him today and tomorrow, and an hour before, things will be decided."
Unlikely to start
With such a lack of match practice, it is unlikely Messi will start the game, but Barcelona will still be confident of giving Real Madrid's defence a run for their money, especially as Neymar Jr and Luis Suarez are currently La Liga's in-form strikers.
Neymar currently leads the league's goal standings with 11 and Suarez is second with nine. Their rise to prominence has no doubt been helped by the absence of Messi, who usually does a good job of hogging the limelight.
If they continue their terrific form, Messi may be able to sit this Clasico tie out and continue on to a full recovery before making his long-awaited comeback.