After beginning his treatment for the injury in Barcelona, Messi then returned to his native Argentina to continue his recovery process during December.However, he returned to Barcelona last week to begin training with his teammates once more and Martino admitted it had been difficult to leave him out of Saturday’s 4-0 win over Elche.“I have spoken with him and he is in the squad,” Martino told a press conference on Tuesday.“We are happy for him and I am especially happy to have all the players available.“There was a lot of pressure for him to play against Elche, that would have been the normal thing to do. However, the difference now is that he has had more training sessions with the team.“Tomorrow we will see if he plays from the start or not.”The news comes also as a huge boost for Martino’s men as they travel to face Atletico Madrid in a top of the table clash in La Liga on Saturday.Both sides are locked on 49 points after 18 games having dropped just five points each so far this season0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000MADRID, January 7- Lionel Messi is expected to make his return from a hamstring injury when Barcelona host Getafe in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday after being included in coach Gerardo Martino’s 18-man squad for the game.The four-time World Player of the Year hasn’t played since tearing his hamstring in Barca’s 4-1 win over Real Betis on November 10.
Craig Knass, owner of Seven Seas Travel in Corona, said cruise bookings from Mexico to the Caribbean are up 135 percent for the first week of July over last year. “It’s amazing,” he said. “You would expect all the honeymooners, but people just want to be traveling on that day. It’s huge.” While many tout 07-07-07 as lucky, 08-08-08 next year may be equally fortunate, especially among Asians, who see the No. 8 as especially propitious. Others, however, say Saturday won’t be so promising. Maria Shaw, a Detroit-based astrologer who writes horoscopes for National Enquirer, said Mercury will be in retrograde, an unlucky time prone to travel delays. “I wouldn’t get married on 777, I’d pick a different date,” Shaw said. “Heaven help us if we have a groom stalled in traffic on the way to the wedding, or if Aunt Bertha sits in the cake.” In Las Vegas, hotels, chapels and casinos expect a 07-07-07 stampede. “We are certain that 777 will draw a lot of gamblers because of its implied luckiness,” said Alicia Malone, a spokeswoman for the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. “777 is a lucky number in Las Vegas. “Our wedding chapels are booked beyond capacity, opening earlier and staying open later.” Local racetracks also expect to benefit. At Hollywood Park, fillies will take to the track for the American Oaks Invitational – and $750,000 in prizes. “We’re anticipating a very good crowd,” said track spokesman Mike Mooney. “I’m sure the numbers players may go for certain combinations on the 777, definitely.” But it’s Magic Mountain that will host the harrowing 07-07-07 event, a “Thrilled Ever After” wedding in which more than 400 couples competed last month for seven lucky slots. During their first moments as man and wife, the couples will see some dramatic ups and downs. But they hope to steer clear of the emotional roller coasters that doom so many unions. On Saturday, seven grooms will lie face forward with seven brides joined by best men and bride’s maids to tie the knot during a record-breaking 124-foot pretzel loop. And Kieft, decked in a white tux with a checkered slip tie, and Lemus, in a flowing white dress, will consider themselves the luckiest couple in the world. “There is a little bit of a possibility of a yak factor,” said Kieft, a self-proclaimed thrill seeker who took his fiance to second and third dates at Magic Mountain. “But I’m not worried – because 777 is lucky.” [email protected] (818) 713-3730160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! On Saturday, couples will hitch on the most popular wedding day in history. Gamblers will flock to casinos. And seagoers will pack cruises for the most auspicious voyages in years. Across the nation, couples have staked their lucky day with seven-course receptions, seven kinds of flowers, seven-seven cocktails and No. 7 bridal hotel suites. In the San Fernando Valley, July 7 weddings have long been booked with a last-chance-lucky frenzy. “I have a lot of clients who say: `We must get married this year because it’s good luck. We can’t wait ’til next year,”‘ said wedding consultant Mary Sushinski, owner of Occasions in Glendale. Others are just as hopeful about having a lucky day. Dustin Kieft and Heather Lemus are bracing for the ultimate plunge – a 62 mph marriage from atop the world’s tallest, flying roller coaster. One of seven couples set to scream “I do” Saturday from Magic Mountain’s heart-stopping Tatsu, they’ll be wed at 7 a.m. on 07-07-07 – a day many hope to be the luckiest day of the century. “It is the most unbelievably lucky day ever,” said Kieft, 20, of Riverside. “We plan on being able to stay together forever. This will just ensure it will all turn out good, no matter what.” For superstitious brides, grooms and gamblers across the nation, the triple- seven date bodes well for lucky stars.