Lionel Messi is gearing up for his final World Cup appearance when the Argentina forward goes to Qatar later this month.
The Paris Saint-Germain star is yet to win FIFA’s flagship event, having appeared at the 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018 tournaments. He came closest in 2014 when the Albiceleste reached the final but were beaten by Germany in extra time.
However, some fears of an injury-enforced absence have come to light.
PSG have confirmed Messi will sit out their penultimate fixture before the break for the World Cup against Lorient with an Achilles problem. However, they add that the Barcelona legend will be back in collective training soon.
Their statement reads: “Suffering inflammation in the Achilles tendon, Leo Messi will remain in care as a precaution. He will return to collective training next week.”
While there’s still enough time in the packed fixture schedule for players to be ruled out of World Cup contention, Messi is not yet at risk of missing out. He is the Argentina captain and one of the greatest ever footballers, so he is a dead certainty to make Lionel Scaloni’s final squad.
Argentina fans will have breathed a collective sigh of relief when his return to training was confirmed, but are still some nervous weeks for Messi to negotiate if he wants to reach the World Cup fully fit.
Any sort of setback could become a serious problem for Messi and Scaloni, with Argentina one of the favourites to win the tournament after their 2021 Copa America success.
Given the form he’s been in so far this season, Messi missing out would be a huge blow.