Lionel Messi may be a doubt for Argentina’s World Cup qualifiers next week after Barcelona confirmed on Monday that their star has a sore left hamstring.
The 29-year-old underwent tests at Barca’s training ground on Monday after he ended Sunday’s 1-0 La Liga win against Athletic Bilbao in discomfort.
However, the Blaugrana remain happy for the player to travel to South America and link up with Edgardo Bauza’s squad.
Argentina, currently third in the CONMEBOL qualification group, host Uruguay on Sept. 2 before facing Venezuela away on Sept. 7 and Messi is to make his much-anticipated return for these matches.
Barcelona said in a statement: “Tests conducted today have confirmed that Lionel Messi has a sore left adductor muscle. Both the Medical Services of FC Barcelona and the AFA have agreed on this report.
“The player will travel to Argentina to join the national team and the evolution of the discomfort will decide his availability to play in the games scheduled.”
#FCBlive Leo Messi, con molestias en el adductor izquierdo https://t.co/Gxs9KXjdiI pic.twitter.com/4Bm6R8q1C5
– FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona_es) August 29, 2016
The Argentina federation (AFA) has not yet commented on their plans nor the nature of the injury.
On Monday, AFA announced that Sergio Aguero and Javier Pastore were both injured and will not play in either qualifier.
Messi, 29, called it quits on his national team after missing a penalty in the shootout defeat to Chile in this summer’s Copa America Centenario final — the third consecutive loss for Argentina in a major final.
However, newly named Argentina coach Bauza had persuaded Messi to return to the squad in time for the September qualifying.
Argentina face Luis Suarez’s Uruguay in Mendoza on Sept. 2 and travel to Merida five days later to take on Venezuela.
After six matches in South American qualifying, Messi and his teammates sit third in the standings behind leaders Uruguay and Ecuador.
The top four teams will qualify automatically for the World Cup in Russia in 2018, while the fifth placed team will go into a playoff match.
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.