Valverde awaits Neymar relief and Messi return

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Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has admitted he cannot wait for speculation about Neymar to end when the transfer window closes on Monday.

Valverde also confirmed that Lionel Messi will not recover from his calf injury in time to face Osasuna in La Liga on Saturday.

Messi tore his calf on August 5 and his absence might have accelerated Barca’s chase for Neymar, although reports in Spain on Friday suggested they may be unwilling to meet Paris Saint-Germain’s demands.

With three days left before the market shuts, there is still time for a last attempt, with Barcelona director Jordi Bordas saying on Tuesday that an agreement was “closer”.

“I am very much looking forward to the day the transfer window closes,” said Valverde in a press conference on Friday.

“We can all then rest and know this is the squad that we have.

“On the issue of Neymar, I have nothing more to say. He is a player from another team, we respect other clubs and we’ll see what happens.”

Messi has yet to play this season, despite returning to training with the first team last week.

Barcelona have denied their captain has suffered a setback and hope to have him available for the league game at home to Valencia on September 14, before their Champions League opener away to Borussia Dortmund three days later.

“The process of recovery continues as normal,” Valverde said. “It is true that now the margins are small and we hope that for the game against Valencia he might be available.

“Then we start the Champions League and we hope to have him back for that but we will see how he progresses in these two weeks with the injury.”

Antoine Griezmann scored twice in Messi’s absence last weekend as Barcelona bounced back from defeat to Athletic Bilbao by thrashing Real Betis 5-2.

Ousmane Dembele (hamstring) and Luis Suarez (calf) will also sit out the trip to newly-promoted Osasuna, who have started with a win away at Leganes and a draw at home to Eibar.

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