Lionel Messi has a chance of returning from injury for Barcelona's game at Osasuna after the international break, coach Gerardo Martino has said.
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Messi has been out of action with a thigh problem since September 28, and has remained in Catalonia this week to continue his recovery despite Argentina having World Cup qualifiers against Peru and Uruguay.
On Monday, he posted an Instagram photo of himself undergoing tests with Barca doctor Ricard Pruna, with the positive message "Pasando revision/Doing my treatments to be ready soon #workhard #gettingfit."
Later that day, Martino told a public meeting in Barcelona there was a chance that Messi, along with teammates Jordi Alba and Javier Mascherano, could return at Osasuna on October 19, meaning all three should be set for the following weekend's clasico against Real Madrid at the Camp Nou.
"I do not know if he will be back for the game against Osasuna," Martino said. "From there, we can see about the next ones. But Jordi Alba and Mascherano will be there [at Osasuna]."
Meanwhile, Gerard Deulofeu, currently on a season long-loan to Everton from Barca, said the other blaugrana stars were stepping up well in their No. 10’s absence.
"Each Barcelona player can play perfectly well without Messi," he explained. "You notice his presence because he is the best player in the world, but they are playing very well. They are at a great level, they have won all their games."
The Spain Under-21 winger said he was happy with how things were going at Everton, even though his chances to impress in the Premier League have so far been limited.
"I miss Spain a bit but I am happy there, starting in bit by bit," Deulofeu said. "Working day by day, everything comes along. There are differences with the Spanish league, of course, but that is football. I am very happy with the experience."