Argentina’s miserable Friday night was compounded by the news that Lionel Messi will miss their next game against Morocco and will return to Barcelona after picking up an injury in defeat to Venezuela.
Messi captained the side inside Atletico Madrids’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium and while he played the 90 minutes, it now transpires he collected a pelvic injury which will now see him return to Barcelona to recover.
In a statement released on their website late on Friday, Barcelona wrote: ‘Lionel Messi did not have the return to international action that he would have wanted, and an injury picked up on Friday night means he will miss Argentina’s game against Morocco on Tuesday.
Lionel Messi will return to Barcelona after collecting an injury while representing Argentina
Messi played 90 minutes in Madrid but will play no part in the next game against Morocco
‘The FC Barcelona star captained his side and played the entire 90 minutes of the friendly against Venezuela at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid, but they would lose 1-3.
‘It was his first appearance since the 2018 World Cup quarter final loss against France, which was followed by a short-lived international retirement for Argentina’s all-time top goalscorer.
‘Whilst he would feature from start to finish, a problem with his pubis means that Messi will not play in the second friendly of the international break.’
It is believed the injury is a flare up from a pre-existing problem and all parties are not keen to take a risk on their star man – particularly Barcelona given they have one eye on their upcoming Champions League tie against Manchester United.
Messi showed flashes of brilliance in Madrid but it was Venezuela who impressed with goals from Salomon Rondon, Jhon Murillo and Josef Martinez. Lautaro Martinez got Argentina’s consolation.
The Barcelona attacker cut a frustrated figure at full-time as his return to the international fold – having taken a sabbatical following Argentina’s World Cup exit last summer – ended in such disappointing fashion.