Forward Luis Suarez could return to the Barcelona team for their La Liga game against Valencia, coach Ernesto Valverde said on Friday, adding that he was pessimistic about Lionel Messi’s recovery.
“Suarez participated in a full training yesterday and again today,” Valverde said. “We hope he can play.”
The 32-year-old Uruguayan limped off with a calf problem in a 1-0 opening-weekend loss to Athletic Bilbao on 16 August. At the time the club forecast he would be out for a month. A return Saturday would be in line with that prediction.
On Thursday, Messi, who also has a calf problem, encouraged hopes that he would be back for Barcelona’s opening Champions League game at Borussia Dortmund next Tuesday.
His coach was more cautious on Friday.
“We think he’s about to come back,” Valverde said. “I don’t want to say anything to avoid creating expectations, but I think it will be difficult for Tuesday.”
Barcelona have one win in three games, their worst league start since 2008.
They received further bad news on Friday when centre-back Samuel Umtiti was ruled out for “five to six weeks” with the foot injury he suffered while training with the French national team last week.
On Saturday, they welcome a Valencia team that has the same record but has been plunged into crisis following the surprising dismissal of coach Marcelino.