Lionel Messi harm replace: Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde provides newest information on striker

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LIONEL MESSI is definitely ruled out of tomorrow’s clash against Rayo but Ernesto Valverde has given a positive update ahead of the Inter Milan match.

The 31-year-old fractured his arm during the match against Sevilla last month.

It meant that he had to miss El Clasico, the first time one went ahead without him and Cristiano Ronaldo in over a decade.

Initially it was feared that the mercurial maverick would be out for up to two months but he has made incredible progress in his recovery.

The Argentinean has been spotted already back in training but Barca boss Valverde has brought fans back down to earth who were expecting to see him back soon.

When asked about his availability for the Champions League clash next week, he said: “Messi in Milan?

“It’s early, he’s still recovering. Let’s wait.”

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has not been missed though, with Los Cules making light work of Real Madrid last weekend.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi injury update: He could be back soon (Pic: GETTY)

Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick in a 5-1 victory that cost Julen Lopetegui his job.

And his replacement in the line-up, Rafinha, staked a claim for a first-team spot after scoring the opener against Inter in a 2-0 win.

Barca top their group after three wins in three in Europe, and another victory would confirm their qualification.

The Nou Camp outfit are one of the favourites to lift the trophy with their last Champions League victory coming in 2015.

On this day in 2005, Messi scored his first Champions League goal against Panathinaikos.

He has gone on to score 105 goals in 127 games in the competition.

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