Lionel Messi has moved a step closer to making his long-awaited return for Barcelona after being named in the 18-man squad for Wednesday's Copa del Rey clash against Getafe.

The Argentinian has been missing with a thigh injury since November but has returned to training and took part in a full session alongside his team-mates on Monday.

Barca boss Gerardo Martino will no doubt tread carefully with Messi, and indeed may yet choose to save the 26-year-old for Saturday's top-of-the-table Primera Division clash with Atletico Madrid.

Sergio Busquets was also named in the squad by Martino, but injured trio Xavi, Marc Bartra and Dani Alves were absent.