Wednesday 21 March 2018

Messi misses pre-season friendly with calf injury

Ian Rogers

LIONEL Messi will miss Barcelona's friendly in Germany against Hamburg SV this evening after bruising his calf in yesterday's training session.

A scan had revealed the extent of the injury and the Argentine World Player of the Year had remained in the Catalan capital for treatment.

New coach Tito Vilanova, who replaced Pep Guardiola at the end of last season, said he was sorry for fans who had bought tickets expecting to see Messi play.

The club was hopeful the 25-year-old would be available for Barca's next pre-season friendly against Moroccan side Raja Club Athletic on Saturday, Vilanova added.

"If he played he would be risking a more serious injury," he said. "He is a footballer who always wants to play," he added. "We hope he can be available for Saturday."

The Barca squad for the Hamburg game, Vilanova's first in charge, is made up mostly of B team players as the club's Spanish internationals have yet to return from holiday following their triumphant Euro 2012 campaign.

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