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Messi starts as Barcelona resume against Mallorca

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Barcelona’s Argentine forward Lionel Messi, Barcelona’s Spanish defender Jordi Alba (R) and Barcelona’s Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal (L) warm up before the Spanish League football match between RCD Mallorca and FC Barcelona at the Visit Mallorca stadium (Son Moix stadium) in Palma de Mallorca on June 13, 2020. (Photo by JAIME REINA / AFP)

Fears over Lionel Messi’s fitness were eased when the Argentine star was named to start for Barcelona in their first match in three months against Real Mallorca on Saturday.

Messi had caused concern by missing three training sessions this month with tightness in his thigh but rejoined his teammates on Monday and was named in the starting line-up by coach Quique Setien.

It will be the first time the 32-year-old has played since he scored the winner against Real Sociedad on March 7.

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That victory sent Barcelona back to the top of the table, two points ahead of Real Madrid.

Messi has scored 24 goals in 31 appearances for Barca this term.

La Liga returned on Thursday as Sevilla beat Real Betis 2-0, bringing an end to 93 days without matches while the coronavirus suspension was in place.

Teams will play their remaining 11 fixtures in less than six weeks, with the season scheduled to finish on July 19.

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