Posted January 02, 2014

Lionel Messi returns to Barcelona, could play Sunday vs. Elche

Lionel Messi hasn't played in nearly two months after suffering a left hamstring tear Nov. 10 against Real Betis. (David Ramos/Getty Images)

Lionel Messi hasn’t played in nearly two months after suffering a left hamstring tear on Nov. 10. (David Ramos/Getty Images)

Lionel Messi has returned to Barcelona from his native Argentina, and manager Gerardo Martino is expected to give the four-time World Player of the Year some time on the field Sunday in a home match against Elche at Blaugrana, according to a Reuters report on Thursday.

The Barca star has been out since suffering a left hamstring tear on Nov. 10 against Real Betis, and he was initially expected to undergo six to eight weeks of rehab.

His teammate, Cesc Fabregas, spoke to the need for Messi to rest given his history of injuries:

“He definitely needed to rest physically because he had already suffered this [injury] and there was no other option than to stop playing. He had four or five injuries in a row in a muscle that he uses a lot in accelerating from a standstill, which is what sets him apart. He had to stop no matter what and he’ll be like a bull when he is back.”

Messi, 26, will also likely play in a Copa del Rey match against Getafe on Jan. 8.

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