Messi to miss Osasuna trip as injury persists

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has confirmed that Lionel Messi will miss Saturday's trip to Osasuna in La Liga.

Messi hasn't played since Argentina's Copa America third-place playoff win over Chile at the beginning of July. He injured his calf in preseason training with Barca.

He missed the club's tour of the United States and was also absent for the first two games of the new campaign, a loss against Athletic Bilbao and a win over Real Betis.

Reports this week suggested he will be out for another month but Valverde played down those fears, saying he's hopeful the forward will be back after the upcoming international break.

"Messi is still continuing with his recovery work," Valverde told a news conference on Friday.

"With the time we have now with the break, we hope he will be back for the Valencia game [on Sept. 14] and the Champions League game at Borussia Dortmund a few days later."

Luis Suarez is also out injured until after the international break, and Ousmane Dembele is sidelined with a hamstring problem until the end of October.

Antoine Griezmann led the attack in the trio's absence last week, scoring twice in the 5-2 win over Real Betis. B team forward Carles Perez also scored and there was a memorable debut for 16-year-old Ansu Fati.