Lionel Messi returned to Barcelona training for the first time on Monday since his failed attempt to leave the club this summer.

Barca confirmed Messi has started by training alone, in line with LaLiga protocol.

“The 2020/2021 preseason is under way for Leo Messi,” the statement read. “The Barca number 10 trained on his own, as did (Philippe) Coutinho, according to LaLiga protocol whilst the rest of the squad worked out together.”

Messi was seen driving into the Ciutat Esportiva and Barca posted a photo on social media just before 6.30 pm (16.30 GMT) of him training in kit and working with a ball. The 33-year-old was taking part in his first session since Ronald Koeman was appointed coach and his first since he said on Friday he had been forced to stay at Barcelona.

The return of Barcelona’s embittered captain and greatest ever player may not be an easy one, particularly given some of his closest team-mates are likely to be absent with his best friend and neighbour, as well as Arturo Vidal, expected to join Juventus and Inter Milan respectively.