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Barcelona: Messi in doubt for LaLiga opener against Athletic

Injured star Lionel Messi looks set to miss Barcelona's LaLiga opener against Athletic Bilbao.

Messi in doubt for Barcelona's LaLiga opener

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde believes it is "difficult" to see Lionel Messi returning from injury for his side's LaLiga opener against Athletic Bilbao on Friday.

Messi, 32, missed Barcelona's trip to the United States, where they claimed two wins over Napoli, due to a calf strain.

Messi return against Athletic "looking difficult"

The forward appears set to miss his team's league opener at Bilbao, with Valverde saying it was hard to see the star returning for the clash.

"He's in the recovery process and I don't know if he will be ready for the start of LaLiga," he told a news conference after a 4-0 win over Napoli in Michigan on Saturday. "It's looking difficult."

Despite Messi's absence, Barça produced a strong performance in their final pre-season friendly against Napoli.

Antoine Griezmann scored his first goal for the club, Luis Suárez netted a brace and Ousmane Dembele was also on the scoresheet in a comfortable win.

Valverde praises Griezmann after first goal for club

Valverde was pleased to see Griezmann, who arrived from Atlético Madrid for 120 million euros in July, get off the mark for Barça.

"The scorers always feed on the opportunities, the goals. We are happy with him," he said.