Lionel Messi is looking increasingly unlikely to be fit enough to face Real Madrid in the first El Clasico of the 2015-16 La Liga campaign.
Barcelona forward Messi suffered a knee ligament injury in the 2-1 win over Las Palmas back in September and with the crunch clash at the Bernabeu taking place on November 21, the Argentine is behind schedule in his bid to face Rafael Benitez’s side.
The Catalan giants initially ruled out Messi for a period of six to eight weeks and with the 28-year-old yet to have returned to training, he is running out of time to reach the required level of fitness to feature in one of the biggest club fixtures in world football.
Former head of medical services at Barcelona Jordi Ardevol told Goal: “This is a delicate injury and [Barca] must take into account the stability of the joint and whether the muscle tone is right.
“He can only play if he participates in some training. They must be cautious and if he does not meet the minimum [fitness] requirements, it is best not to take a risk.”
Messi has, as expected, been excused from the Argentina squad for World Cup qualifiers against Brazil and Colombia in November, with the Clasico meeting with Madrid coming just four days after the clash with the Colombians.
Neymar and Luis Suarez have been in sensational form in Messi’s absence, with the duo both on the scoresheet in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Getafe that ensured Luis Enrique side’s kept pace with Madrid at the top of the table.

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