|The success of champions Barcelona will hang on the fitness of stars such as Messi and Xavi [GALLO/GETTY]
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi returned to training on Monday and should be ready to play in the first leg of the Spanish Supercup against Real Madrid on Sunday.
Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano and Chile forward Alexis Sanchez - Barcelona's only offseason signing - also took part in their first training session of the pre-season.
The three South American internationals had extended vacations after playing in the Copa America in July. Barcelona said that right back Dani Alves is still in Brazil.
However, Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez may miss the first leg of the Supercup with a leg injury.
Barcelona said that their playmaker will undergo rehabilitation and "his progress will determine his availability for the coming games."
The second leg of the Spanish Supercup will be played at the Camp Nou on August 17.
Barcelona begin their campaign for a fourth straight Spanish league title at Malaga four days later.
Real child prodigy
Real Madrid are looking to the future after signing a seven-year-old football prospect from Argentina, who also happens to go by the name Leo.
Leonel Angel Coira has signed with the Spanish giant and will begin training on September 6, Madrid spokesman Juan Tapiador tells The Associated Press.
Argentine sports daily Ole reported last week that Coira had become the youngest ever signing by Madrid but Tapiador said he is not.
Coira told Ole that his idol was Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi, who also goes by the name Leo.
Coira says he prefers "to provide the pass" than to score.
Ole reports Madrid, the world's biggest club, made the push to sign Coira with Spanish league rival Atletico Madrid also pursuing the youngster.
Spanish club Mallorca are benefitting from Sevilla's youth system after reinforcing their attack with forward Alejandro Alfaro on Wednesday after agreeing to a transfer from Sevilla.
The Spanish club says Alfaro will sign a contract for five seasons. The 24-year-old Alfaro came up through Sevilla's youth system. He played for the first team from 2006-08 and for the last two seasons after being loaned out to Tenerife from 2008-09.
Alfaro will help fill in up front for Mallorca after the exit of veteran striker Pierre Webo.