Messi only returned to the Catalan capital on Thursday after a month of recovery work and training in his native Argentina.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi

Martino insisted that his compatriot looks in fine shape, but is still someway short of being fully match fit.

“In my view Messi is full of desire, I think he is in very good shape physically and has the look of a killer,” said Martino.

“He needs to gain more rhythm from training with his teammates and then in competitive action, but he is doing very well.”

Messi is similar to me: Pele
Meanwhile, in an interview with the FIFA Weekly magazine published on Friday, the Brazilian legend suggested the 26-year-old Argentinian deserved to win the Ballon D’Or for a fifth time despite an injury-wracked 2013, Xinhua reported.

“(Franck) Ribery, (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo all have different characteristics, but all are attackers like me,” Pele said. “In terms of the role he plays within the team, Messi has the style which is most similar to mine.”