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WORLD CUP 2022

Messi fitness update: Argentina star misses training again ahead of World Cup opener

Lionel Messi was unable to train with his team-mates for the second consecutive day on Saturday, as Argentina prepare to face Saudi Arabia.

Doha (Qatar)Update:
Lionel Messi was unable to train with his team-mates for the second consecutive day on Saturday, as Argentina prepare to face Saudi Arabia.
KAI PFAFFENBACHREUTERS

All eyes are on Lionel Messi in the opening days of Argentina’s preparations in Qatar, as the Paris Saint-Germain forward has arrived for the World Cup carrying a niggle in his Achilles tendon.

It caused him to miss club game time before travelling to the Middle East, and the 35-year-old is struggling to train alongside his team-mates.

Messi trains alone for second day in a row

In Argentina’s latest session at Qatar University on Saturday, Messi was unable to join the group and could only manage light individual work. The former Barcelona star was also absent from training on Friday.

According to the Argentinian Football Federation, Messi’s Achilles tendon problem won’t prevent him from playing in the Albiceleste’s World Cup opener against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. Indeed, the Federation says his absence from training is chiefly a case of load management.

However, any kind of fitness concern over Messi is significant. He was unable to play for PSG against Lorient on 6 November, and nobody wants him to be struggling with fitness issues at a tournament as important as the World Cup.

Messi, who was accompanied at all times by Argentina doctors, did not appear to be in pain. The expressions on the medical staff’s faces did not indicate that they were overly worried. The aim is for the national captain to feel as comfortable as possible during what will be his fifth World Cup.

He goes into the tournament in superlative form. The veteran has scored 10 goals in his last four appearances for Argentina and his early-season performances for PSG have been reminiscent of the player he was at Barça.

Martínez, Palacios also train individually

In addition to Messi, Lisandro Martínez and Exequiel Palacios also trained away from the group. The pair are likewise not considered to be carrying serious problems.

Ángel Correa and Thiago Almada completed their first World Cup training sessions, having been called up to the Argentina squad to replace injury victims Joaquín Correa and Nico González.

Argentina also face Mexico and Poland in group stage

Argentina have been drawn in Group C with Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia. After facing the Saudis, Lionel Scaloni’s men take on the Mexicans on 26 November, and the Poles on 30 November.

Video: Most football fans rooting for Messi - Maxi

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