Champions League Football

Lionel Messi wants to return for Barcelona vs Inter to boost his Ballon d’Or chances

Barcelona have coped very well in the absence of Lionel Messi.

The Argentine fractured his arm in the game against Sevilla, which Barca would go on to win 4-2.

In the matches since, the Blaugrana have been very successful, beating Inter Milan 2-0, Real Madrid 5-1 and coming from 2-1 down to beat Rayo Vallecano 3-2 last night.

Luis Suarez has stepped up when it mattered most, with midfielder Arthur Melo also sparkling in Messi’s absence.

It was feared that the 31-year-old wouldn’t return until after the upcoming international break, but he has been included in the squad for Barca’s Champions League tie against Inter.

The La Liga leaders make the short trip to Milan on Tuesday evening and a win would guarantee their passage to the last-16.

But will Messi actually play a part? Well, AS are reporting that he is desperate to play for a very good reason.

The Argentine is aware that voting for the Ballon d’Or closes on November 9, meaning that the Inter game is his last chance to shine.

The Spanish paper wrote: “It is unclear whether the Argentine will be able to start at San Siro, but all the indications are that he may well feature at some point of the Group B match.

Messi watches the Inter game from the stands

“The voting for Ballon d’Or finished on November 9th and he is said to be keen to both fire Barca through to the next round and send out a message as to who the best in the world really is.”

We may even see the little magician from the start of the game if this is the case.

Rafinha has been the man tasked with filling Messi’s boots in recent games, but his lacklustre performance against Vallecano didn’t go down well with fans.

Ousmane Dembele came on for him and scored the equaliser, but the Frenchman still flattered to deceive.

Dembele in action vs Vallecano

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