PICTURED: Lionel Messi trains with Barcelona for the first time since ending his sensational bid to quit the club – and he doesn’t look too happy as he begins work with Ronald Koeman
Lionel Messi has returned to training with the Barcelona squad for the first time since performing a dramatic U-turn over his demand to quit the club.
Messi was pictured out on the field at Barca’s Joan Gamper Ciutat Esportiva training HQ on Monday.
He had earlier arrived at the training ground in his Mercedes and his expression did not suggest that he was happy to be there.
The training session marked the first time that he and new coach Ronald Koeman have worked together on the pitch since the Dutchman took the reins at the club, which has been in crisis ever since the 8-2 humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Barcelona posted a picture on Instagram showing Messi back in training on Monday
A stern-looking Lionel Messi was pictured arriving at Barcelona’s training HQ on Monday
The Argentine cut a despondent figure as he arrived at the training ground in his Mercedes
Messi arrived well before the scheduled start of training at 4.30pm BST, suggesting he might have meetings to attend before taking to the field. He certainly would have plenty to discuss with Koeman, his team-mates or any of the Barca hierarchy.
The Catalan giants are preparing for their friendly with Gimnastic at the Johan Cruyff Stadium on Saturday but Messi is not likely to be involved.
He may feature in their friendly with Girona on September 16, however.
The 33-year-old superstar gave up his fight to leave Barcelona for Manchester City last Friday, breaking his silence to reveal that he would stay put because he did not want to have a court battle with the club over his disputed €700million (£630m) release clause.
The 33-year-old superstar gave up his fight to leave Barcelona for Manchester City last Friday
Messi had told the club he felt he was contractually permitted to leave on a free transfer.
Barca insisted the time had passed for the clause to be activated and that the player would need to pay the mammoth release clause in his contract if another club wanted to sign him this summer.
Messi subsequently revealed in an interview published last Friday that he had reversed his decision, saying he could never go to court against the club to secure a move.
He told Goal: ‘I am going to continue in the club because the president (Josep Bartomeu) told me that the only way to leave was to pay the 700million clause, that that is impossible, and then the only other way was to go to court.
‘I would never go to court against Barca because it is the club that I love, that gave me everything since I arrived, it is the club of my life, I have made my life here.’
Luis Suarez also attended training on Monday but is thought to be on his way out of the club
Along with Messi, Luis Suarez also arrived for training ahead of a proposed move away from the Nou Camp.
Messi, a six-time Ballon d’Or winner, has been with Barcelona since the age of 13 and is the club’s all-time record goalscorer.
He has also won over 30 major titles with Barca, including 10 LaLiga triumphs and four Champions Leagues.