Messi, Neymar still doubtful for Club World cup final

Yokohama, Dec 19 (IANS) FC Barcelona striker Lionel Messi trained here on Saturday with his teammates for the first time since being diagnosed with renal colic, an abdominal ailment that forced him to miss his team’s 3-0 win over Guangzhou Evergrande in the semi-final of the 2015 FIFA Club World Cup.

But Barçelona head coach Luis Enrique did not say at a press conference in this central Japanese city whether the Argentine football superstar would be cleared to play in Sunday’s final against Buenos Aires-based club River Plate, reports Efe.

Messi appeared to be practicing normal during the 15 minutes of the session open to the media and later did some solo ball-control drills.

Although the club has not provided any official word on Messi’s status, the player has already passed a kidney stone and is believed to be awaiting word from doctors on whether any remnants need to be removed.

Brazilian superstar Neymar also took part in Barcelona’s training session at the International Stadium Yokohama after being out since December 8 due to a minor leg injury, but Enrique also gave no guarantees that he would play on Sunday.

No announcement from the club about whether or not these forwards will take the field against River Plate is expected until minutes before the match at that same venue.

Yet another South American striker, Uruguayan Luis Suarez, led the way for Barcelona against Guangzhou Evergrande in Thursday’s second semi-final, scoring all three goals.

River Plate defeated Japanese club Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1-0 in Wednesday’s first semi-final, played at Nagai Stadium in Osaka.

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