Lionel Messi returns to Barcelona training

Lionel Messi returns to Barcelona training following his failed attempt to force a move away from the club.

Lionel Messi returns to Barcelona training
Lionel Messi returns to Barcelona training an hour and a half early after announcing he will stay at Camp NouLionel Messi

(African Stand) — Lionel Messi has returned to training with the Barcelona squad for the first time since performing a dramatic U-turn over his demand to quit the club.

Messi was pictured arriving at Barca’s Joan Gamper Ciutat Esportiva training HQ in his Mercedes on Monday, and his expression did not suggest that he was happy to be there.

The training session marked the first time that he and new coach Ronald Koeman have worked together on the pitch since the Dutchman took the reins at the club, which has been in crisis ever since the 8-2 humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Messi arrived well before the scheduled start of training at 4.30 pm BST, suggesting he might have meetings to attend before taking to the field. He certainly would have plenty to discuss with Koeman, his team-mates, or any of the Barca hierarchy.

The Catalan giants are preparing for their friendly with Gimnastic at the Johan Cruyff Stadium on Saturday but Messi is not likely to be involved.

He may feature in their friendly with Girona on September 16, however.

The 33-year-old superstar gave up his fight to leave Barcelona for Manchester City last Friday, breaking his silence to reveal that he would stay put because he did not want to have a court battle with the club over his disputed €700million (£630m) release clause.

Messi had told the club he felt he was contractually permitted to leave on a free transfer.

Barca insisted the time had passed for the clause to be activated and that the player would need to pay the mammoth release clause in his contract if another club wanted to sign him this summer.

Messi subsequently revealed in an interview published last Friday that he had reversed his decision, saying he could never go to court against the club to secure a move.

He told Goal: ‘I am going to continue in the club because the president (Josep Bartomeu) told me that the only way to leave was to pay the 700million clause, that that is impossible, and then the only other way was to go to court.

‘I would never go to court against Barca because it is the club that I love, that gave me everything since I arrived, it is the club of my life, I have made my life here.’

Along with Messi, Luis Suarez also arrived for training ahead of a proposed move away from the Nou Camp.

Messi, a six-time Ballon d’Or winner, has been with Barcelona since the age of 13 and is the club’s all-time record goalscorer.

He has also won over 30 major titles with Barca, including 10 LaLiga triumphs and four Champions Leagues.

Ericson Mangoli

Written by Ericson Mangoli

Ericson Mangoli is the founder of African Stand, based in Nairobi Kenya, Ericson leads a splendid group of correspondents, independent writers, investigators, analysts, and supporters from around the globe to run African Stand as a supervisor and the chief editor.

Ericson Mangoli's editorial experience ranges more than 5 years and covers all the sports news, and at times including business and venture, data innovation, legislative issues, strategy, basic freedoms, science detailing, and significantly more.

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