Barcelona coach Valverde downplays Messi injury concerns

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Barcelona, March 28 (IANS) Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde on Wednesday downplayed concerns about the physical condition of superstar Lionel Messi, despite the Argentina and Barcelona forward sitting out his national football team’s last two friendlies due to muscle problems.

Although Valverde said he did not have the full picture of Messi’s injury, the coach said he was not worried and that the Argentine player would be medically examined on Thursday to evaluate his physical condition, reports Efe.

“Messi finished the last match against Athletic Club well, and we hope that it’s nothing serious,” Valverde said.

“We will play in all of the competitions this month, and we will see how the players are when they return from international duty,” he added.

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Messi’s absence was felt on Tuesday during Argentina’s 1-6 drubbing at the hands of Spain during the pre-World Cup friendly at Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium.

Messi also missed the friendly against Italy last Friday, in which an out-of-sorts Argentina nevertheless managed to win 2-0 against an Italian team currently in rebuilding mode after failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years.

–IANS

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