Ernesto Valverde has revealed that Lionel Messi could miss Barcelona’s opening La Liga game against Athletic Bilbao on Friday.

Messi, who featured for Argentina at the Copa America this summer, is currently struggling with a calf strain and did not travel with the Barcelona squad to the USA for their two pre-season games with Napoli.

There were hopes that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner would recover in time but Valverde has suggested that he is set to miss out.

After Barcelona’s latest 4-0 friendly victory over Napoli, Valverde said: ‘I would love it if Messi was on holiday, but he’s injured.

‘I wish we could have him here and count on him for Friday [against Athletic Bilbao] but it’s difficult to see.’

The absence of Messi will come as a big blow for the Catalan giants as they go in search of their third consecutive La Liga title.