Liga - Messi 'to return on January 2’

Tata Martino says that he hopes to have Lionel Messi and Victor Valdes back training with Barcelona by January 2.

The duo have been ruled out for the remainder of the calendar year with respective muscle injuries suffered in November, but their Coach has a date in mind for their return to training with the club.

“Messi has trained a double shift today and I say this - the footballers who live in Spain will be integrated into the group on the 30th except for those who are playing with the Catalan national team, who will be training on that morning,” began Martino to reporters after yesterday’s Copa del Rey win.

“And the foreign players, except for Adriano and Jonathan Soriano, will join on the January 2. No-one will train on day one and day two will be a double session.

“By then, we hope for Victor Valdes and Leo Messi. And I see him as well, he is working with respect to the evolution of his injury. Dr Pruna, Pepe Costa and Zubi travelled out [yesterday] and are accompanying him.

“He will work this week and we have hope for his return.”