Lionel Messi and Philippe Coutinho to make their grand return

Camp Nou, the home ground of FC Barcelona / OMAR HAWWASH/BLAUGRANAGRAM
Camp Nou, the home ground of FC Barcelona / OMAR HAWWASH/BLAUGRANAGRAM

With Barcelona’s preparations for the upcoming season underway, Lionel Messi and Philippe Coutinho are expected to make their return to the group training sessions Wednesday.

Ronald Koeman’s appointment has taken place, and Barcelona have gone to the drawing board ahead of the upcoming season. The season, struck by a pandemic, was one where they missed out on the LaLiga title to arch-rivals Real Madrid, with Bayern Munich winning the Champions League after coasting past the Catalans in the semi-finals of the European tournament.

Several topics have been discussed, including arrivals and departures, with Ivan Rakitić recently moving to Sevilla, and Memphis Depay being linked heavily with a move to the Camp Nou.

However, on the other side of the transfers, Barcelona’s players and technical staff are getting to know each other, with Ronald Koeman’s appointment recently having been followed by incorporations of Alfred Schreuder, Henrik Larsson and Albert Roca into the latter department.

The first training session for Ronald Koeman was without Philippe Coutinho and Lionel Messi, with the latter’s recent saga with Barcelona meaning he was not willing to participate in club related activities. Philippe Coutinho had just recently returned from his loan spell at Bayern, and both players had to train in solitary, since the start of this week, due to league protocols. Lionel Messi participated in his first training session on Monday, albeit an individual one, after revealing his motives for staying at the club in an interview released days prior.

Both Coutinho and Messi will however be on the training ground, training with their teammates, both new and old, starting this coming Wednesday. Two sessions are set to be held: one Wednesday morning, and one in the afternoon, where the pair will make their return to the group sessions.

Philippe Coutinho is set to stay at the club despite not having been part of the club’s plans in recent times; however, the club have had a change of mind with Ronald Koeman calling Coutinho merely a day after the Brazilian completed the Treble with the Bavarians.

As for Lionel Messi, the Argentine is set to stay at least for another year, with his current contract running out in 2021.