Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has been carrying a small muscle injury while away on international duty with Argentina, limiting his ability to train, although it is not expected to keep the five-time Ballon d'Or winner out of his country's clash with Venezuela on Friday night.
Messi has played virtually every minute for Barça in February and March, only missing a portion of the Copa del Rey Clásico against Real Madrid during that time. He also hasn't missed a single La Liga or Champions League game since nursing a broken arm in early November.
According to SPORT, the minor injury that has kept him out of some Argentina training is a result of the 'overload' of matches he has played in recent months. But it is the cause of no real concern, much to the relief of Barça fans.
It is said that the final decision over whether Messi plays against Venezuela in Madrid, an international friendly rather than a qualifier of any kind, will fall to the player himself. A second friendly against Morocco will be played next Tuesday.
This is the first time that Messi has been in the Argentina squad since the disappointment of last summer's World Cup when La Albiceleste could only scrape through the group stage before conceding four goals against France in the first knockout round.
The 31-year-old has been in fine form at club level this season. His recent hat-trick against Real Betis, for which he was applauded by the opposing fans, took his goal tally for the season to 39, while his 21 assists mean he has had a direct hand in 60 total goals in 2018/19.