Barcelona manager, Ernesto Valverde, has admitted it would be "difficult" to see Lionel Messi returning from injury, for his side's LaLiga opener against Athletic Bilbao on Friday.


Messi missed Barcelona's trip to the United States, where they recorded two wins over Napoli, due to a calf strain.


The 32-year-old might not recover in time for the start of their title defence.


"He's in the recovery process and I don't know if he will be ready for the start of La Liga.


"It's looking difficult," Valverde told a news conference after a 4-0 win over Napoli in Michigan on Saturday.


Should Messi miss the clash against Athletic, he will look towards the August 25 match against Real Betis to make his season debut.


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