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Lionel Messi is back in training and should play this weekend

Great news for Barca. Bad news for Manchester City. Annoying for Argentina.

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Much to the dismay of the La Liga teams coming up on Barcelona's schedule, Lionel Messi returned to full training on Wednesday. He's likely to play against Deportivo La Coruña this weekend -- though probably less than 90 minutes -- in the hopes that he'll be fully fit to face Manchester City next week.

Barca didn't have Messi in their last league game, a loss to Celta Vigo. They subbed him just before the hour mark against Atlético Madrid, then conceded the equalizer a couple minutes later. The Blaugrana currently sit in fourth place, but are in comfortable striking distance of Atléti and Real Madrid.

Argentina fans might be a bit skeptical about the timing, and certainly annoyed that they didn't have Messi for some key games. They dropped points in both of their October World Cup qualifiers, and now sit outside of an automatic qualification spot.

Goal of the day

38-year-old Pablo Escobar's first for Bolivia against Ecuador. (r/soccer)

In the news

Toni Kroos has signed a contract extension with Real Madrid. (RMCF)

Serge Aurier, who you might know from talking trash about his teammates and getting arrested, certainly is interesting. He saved an opponent's life this week. Then he did a throat slash gesture after his team scored. (BBC)

Steve McClaren is back at Derby? OK, sure. (Guardian)

Gareth Southgate has admitted that England is a mess. (Telegraph)

The new Neymar Jordans are awesome. (Fox Soccer)

You should be reading

Bea Redondo Tejedor on the rise of women's soccer in Spain. (Unusual Efforts)

Kieron O'Connor on Dortmund's finances. (Swiss Ramble)

ESPN FC's writers have some great suggestions on how to make soccer better.

What happened on Tuesday

The USMNT wasn't great in their draw against New Zealand.

You can find everything you need to know about World Cup qualifiers just passed right here. (FIFA)

What to watch on Wednesday (click for listings, all times ET)

MLS: Sounders vs. Dynamo (10:30 p.m.) -- The Dynamo are pretty much checked out, but the Sounders need every point they can get.


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