Messi picks up groin injury, will miss World Cup qualifier

AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano

Lionel Messi’s return to the Argentina national team included a match-winning goal and a international break-ending injury.

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Messi, 29, will not be available for Tuesday’s CONMEBOL World Cup qualifier against Venezuela after suffering a groin injury.

Argentina is atop the CONMEBOL table, with the top four teams advancing and the fifth-placed team needing a playoff to qualify for Russia 2018.

From the BBC:

Messi said after the game that his groin had been “hurting a lot”.

Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza said: “He won’t be able to play. We can’t take any risks. We must take care of him.”

Argentina should be able to handle Venezuela fairly easily, which puts our focus squarely on whether Messi will be able to put on his club shirt (or shorts) for Barcelona.

The Blaugranas next face Alaves on Sept. 10 before a Sept. 13 UEFA Champions League date with Celtic. So this isn’t a terrible time for Messi to need some recovery time.