Lionel Messi did not take part in Argentina’s training session on Thursday, sparking fears he is battling an injury ahead of Sunday’s World Cup final with champions France.
According to numerous reports Messi is managing an injury from Tuesday’s 3-0 semi-final victory over Croatia.
The former Barcelona star was seen moving awkwardly and clutching his hamstring towards the end of the clash with Croatia but was quick to allay any concerns after the game, insisting he will be fit for the final showdown.
His absence from training on Thursday should also not come as a surprise, though, as all players who started the fixture vs Croatia were given extra recovery and instead took part in a gym session, rather than out on the pitch.
ESPN Argentina reports boss Lionel Scaloni split his squad into two separate groups, with one group being put through their paces out on the field, while the others did some conditioning inside.
The session was open to the media for the first 15 minutes, where the likes of Angel Di Maria and Paulo Dybala – neither of whom started against Croatia – could be seen among the group on the pitch
The only substitute from Tuesday’s win who was not present was Papu Gomez, who is currently nursing a sprained ankle. Nicolas Otamendi, one of the starters against Croatia and a key player for La Albiceleste, was spotted watching on from the dugout alongside ex-Argentina striker Sergio Aguero.
Former Manchester City star Aguero would almost certainly have been a part of Scaloni’s squad for the tournament in Qatar but for his unfortunate retirement at the end of last year due to a heart condition. Midfielder Leandro Paredes also sat with the pair during the session.
Scaloni will be able to welcome back Marcos Acuna and Gonzalo Montiel for the final after both players missed the Croatia clash due to suspension. But it is the fitness of Messi which is no doubt of prime concern.