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Messi scores as Barcelona win Friendly

Lionel Messi scored twice for Barcelona in a 3-1 pre-season friendly win over Girona on Wednesday.

Messi, 33, returned to training last week after failing to force a transfer away from the club.

He struck two long-range goals, the second taking a deflection on its way in.

He was also involved in the opener, playing in Francisco Trincao to cross for Philippe Countinho to score, before going off after a hour.

Barcelona are due to start their league campaign on 26 or 27 September against Villarreal.

Messi, Barcelona’s all-time leading goalscorer, believed he had a clause in his contract which would allow him to leave for free and did not begin pre-season training.

Barcelona and La Liga insisted that clause was no longer valid – with any club wishing to buy him required to pay a release clause of 700m euros (£624m) – and Messi returned to training after saying he would not take the club to court.

He also featured in Saturday’s friendly win over Gimnastic de Tarragona.

Earlier on Wednesday, La Liga president Javier Tebas said he was pleased Messi had stayed at Barcelona.

Barcelona used 20 players in Wednesday’s game at the club’s training centre but Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez and Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal did not feature.