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PHOTO: Messi and Mascherano board plane ahead of Barcelona return

The duo featured for Argentina in this summer’s World Cup final, losing out to Germany.

Barcelona duo Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano have been pictured boarding a flight as they prepare to return to training for the new season.

The pair have enjoyed an extended break following their World Cup commitments this summer, where they helped Argentina to the World Cup final. They will not however return as winners of the tournament, after they were defeated in extra time by Germany.

With the La Liga season just under three weeks away, Messi and Mascherano return to a squad who have already been in pre-season training for up to three weeks.

The duo will fly to Switzerland to link up with their Barcelona team-mates, with the club taking on Napoli, Helsinki and Leon in friendlies over the coming week. The Catalan giants had previously been training in England, using St George’s Park’s state of the art facilities.

They will land to a new-look Barcelona squad that has seen both major arrivals and departures over the last month.

Alexis Sanchez, Bojan Krkic, Cesc Fabreags and Carlos Puyol have all left the club, while Marc-André ter Stegen, Ivan Rakitić, Jérémy Mathieu and Luis Suarez have all joined.

The latter, Suarez, faces a lengthy wait until he can begin to play alongside the likes of Messi, after his biting antics at the World Cup earned him a four-month ban. The suspension expires in late October, and the Uruguayan is not even allowed to train with his new team.

For Messi and Mascherano 2014/15 represents a big season in their careers as they look to help Barcelona recover from their trophyless campaign season last time around.

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