Barcelona have announced that Lionel Messi is making good progress as he bids to recover from a hamstring injury.
The Catalan giants have been without the Argentine since November 10 when he limped off in the first half of the 4-1 La Liga win over Real Betis and he recently returned to his home country for further treatment.
Messi was the subject of a visit from key Barcelona officials on Wednesday and the club have now said the signs are positive, with the forward on the verge of moving on to the next stage of his rehabilitation.
"On Friday further tests will be performed to establish when he can begin the third phase of his recovery programme," a Barcelona statement reads.
"Doctor Ricard Pruna, along with sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta, travelled to Argentina on Tuesday to get a first-hand look at the progress being made by Leo Messi.
"The striker injured his hamstring on November 10 and since November 29 has been working on the second phase of his recovery programme in his home country.
"He started working under supervision of doctor Daniel Martinez and kinesiologist Luis Garcia, members of the medical team that works with the Argentina national team.
"He was later joined by Barcelona physio Elvio Paolorosso, as had originally been planned."
Messi has made 16 appearances in all competitions so far this term, scoring 14 goals in the process.