Lionel Messi returned to full training with Barcelona on Wednesday as he nears a comeback from a calf injury.The 32-year-old missed the whole of Barca’s pre-season programme and was not part of their squad for the 1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao on the opening day of the Liga season.Messi – whose last competitive outing was for Argentina in the Copa America third-place play-off victory over Chile, a match in which he was controversially sent off – has been doing solo exercises to build up his fitness and sat out the Liga champions’ first training session on Wednesday but was pictured with the rest of his team-mates later in the day. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Barca head coach Ernesto Valverde may now consider the Argentina international for selection against Real Betis on Sunday, with Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez already ruled out.Dembele will miss the next five weeks with a hamstring injury and Suarez is out for an indefinite period after injuring his right calf in the shock defeat to Athletic. #Messi vuelve a entrenar con el grupo pic.twitter.com/WREQAOsgHa— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona_es) August 21, 2019 Goal confirmed on Tuesday that Messi was ready to rejoin Valverde’s squad after enduring a stunted pre-season period due to the Copa America and subsequent injury. Messi is expected to be named in the matchday squad to take on Betis, and it is likely he will feature from the bench.A double session has been scheduled for the diminutive frontman during the week, taking his tally to five training sessions ahead of Sunday’s clash.If he is cleared to play against Betis, it will mark his first appearance alongside new signing Antoine Griezmann, who will lead the line in the absence of Dembele and Suarez on Sunday.The Frenchman played the entire 90 minutes but was unable to open his account for the Catalans as they were frustrated by Athletic, a result that means they start the campaign three points behind rivals Real Madrid, who dispatched Celta 3-1.
ANN ARBOR, MI – SEPTEMBER 22: Adrian Martinez #2 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers throws a first half pass while playing the Michigan Wolverines on September 22, 2018 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)The Huskers have a major road test this weekend as they take on the undefeated Minnesota Golden Gophers. That task may become a lot harder if quarterback Adrian Martinez isn’t ready to go with his knee injury.As of Thursday, it would appear that Martinez’s status is still very much in the air.Speaking to the media, Nebraska head coach Scott Frost revealed that Martinez will make the trip to Minneapolis. But beyond that, he wouldn’t comment on whether Martine would start.In fact, four of Nebraska’s available quarterbacks – Martinez, sophomore Noah Vedral, freshman Luke McCaffrey, and junior Andrew Bunch – are set to make the trip. Frost said Martinez will make the trip along with Vedral, McCaffrey and Andrew Bunch. Wouldn’t read much into that, though, in terms of Martinez’s status.— Parker Gabriel (@HuskerExtraPG) October 10, 2019Martinez injured his knee in Nebraska’s Week 6 win over Northwestern. Vedral finished the game as Martinez went to the lockersFrost has maintained that the injury isn’t serious, but his silence on Martinez’s status is quite interesting.Martinez is currently completing 60.3-percent of his passes at 8.5 yards per attempt. But he is on pace for fewer touchdowns and more interceptions than he had as a freshman last year.Beating a 5-0 Minnesota team that is already favored in the game will only become harder if the starting quarterback doesn’t get enough reps before.The game will be played at 7:30 p.m. EST and will air on FS1.
A sign outside Manchester United’s Carrington training ground has appeared to have been spray painted with the message ‘Pogba Out’ amid speculation over the midfielder’s future.The Frenchman has endured a testing time at Old Trafford since returning from Juventus in 2016 and faced further criticism in August when he missed a penalty against Wolves.Having been heavily linked with a move away from the club, with Zinedine Zidane keen to take him to Real Madrid, Pogba’s long-term future at the club remains uncertain. Article continues below Editors’ Picks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream An image has now circulated on social media appearing to show a sign at the club’s training ground daubed with ‘Pogba Out’ in red spray paint.The picture comes at a time where it seems some fans are losing patience with the 26-year-old as United continue to stumble in their pursuit to return to former glories, with Pogba having previously suggested he wants a new challenge.Playing in the Europa League under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this season, the club are desperate to get back into the top four and challenge for the title.However, after drawing 1-1 at Molineux, the Red Devils succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at home to Crystal Palace and already trail Premier League leaders Liverpool by five points after just three matches.Photo: ‘Pogba Out’ has been spray-painted on a sign outside Carrington #mulive [sun via @MUnitedFR] pic.twitter.com/SvcC1SYy0C— utdreport (@utdreport) August 28, 2019As Pogba is one of the club’s star names, his performances are often under intense scrutiny, particularly when things don’t go to plan.Supporters and pundits alike were irked when Marcus Rashford stepped aside for Pogba to take the spot-kick at Wolves, only for Rui Patricio to keep out the attempt and ensure his side earned a point.Pogba was targeted with vile racist abuse on social media following the incident, while Rashford suffered similar treatment after hitting the post as the Red Devils missed another penalty against Palace.Solskjaer backed his player following the penalty furore and insisted that while abuse makes Pogba stronger, it must stop.”Paul’s a strong character and it makes him stronger,” he said. “When you speak to him, he’s fine and I just cannot believe we’re still sat here in 2019 talking about these instances.”Social media is a place where people – as Harry [Maguire] said – can hide behind fake identities, I don’t think it’s not down to me to change it but there are so many Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s on Twitter I know it’s not me!”We’ve got to do something about it and the authorities have got to do something about the ones who spread this hate.”We need to protect individuals and protect people. When there are death threats and racism, they are serious incidents. Sometimes you get annoyed.”What can we do about it? Us as Man United, we’re not going to ban our players on social media, we have to spread the good word, because there is so much good we can use social media for but we have to stop those incidents.”United are back in action on August 31 when they face Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton.