independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

I’ll be back when my body is ready: Messi refuses to rush his return after injury

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi

LIONEL Messi says he will be back playing football "when the body tells me I'm fine" and not a minute sooner as he recovers from his latest hamstring injury.

The Barcelona star was ruled out of action for up to two months on November 11 after suffering another hamstring problem during the previous day's 4-1 victory at Real Betis where he limped off after 21 minutes.

Earlier this month his Barca team-mate Cesc Fabregas urged the Argentina superstar not to try and rush his recovery after experiencing similar problems while at Arsenal, and advised Messi to have patience as he looks to get back to full fitness.

The 26-year-old gave an interview with sports newspaper Diario Ole in his native Argentina, confirming he will not rush back and will only return when he has fully recovered.

He said: "The plan is to resume playing when the body tells me I'm fine."

There were rumours that Messi, who has scored 223 goals for Barca with 14 so far this season, had changed his diet which could have been a contributing factor to his run of injuries.

But he put the record straight, saying: "(That is) not true. My diet is the same as ever. A lot of things have been made up.

"I do the same as always. And I started the pre-season with my ideal weight to reach the end feeling good. Nothing changes."

The four-time World Player of the Year, who has suffered from hamstring issues in the past, believes his recent run of injuries are just down to bad luck.

He added: "I'm sad because I did not expect it and I'm also angry because it is an injury that happened to me right after another.

"I'm not worried, really. This injury happened because it had to happen. There is nothing unusual or anything to look back at.

"A hit, a bad move and I was injured."

Messi also dismissed his injury as a result of playing too many matches for Barcelona and admitted he is happy with coach Gerardo Martino's rotation policy.

He said: "It's not good to pick up an injury, but I wouldn't have done anything differently.

"I'm not the only player who plays a lot of games in a season. Everyone playing in La Liga does the same.

"As long as I feel okay, I'll play whenever necessary.

"I have no reason to place limits on myself. I know that when the coach wants to take me off, he'll replace me and there's no problem with that."

Meanwhile, left-back Jordi Alba hopes to return to full training in 10 to 15 days in the final stretch of his recovery from a muscle injury he sustained last month.

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