Lionel Messi Injury: Updates on Barcelona Star's Leg and Return

Matt JonesFeatured Columnist

Lionel Andres Messi of FC Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Barcelona on December 9, 2015 at the BayArena in Leverkusen, Germany.(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi was forced to leave Jan. 17's La Liga clash with Athletic Bilbao at half-time due to a minor leg issue. However, he's now ready for competitive action.

Continue for updates.

Messi Returns vs. Malaga

Saturday, Jan. 23

The Argentinian started the Blaugrana's trip to La Rosaleda stadium.

Latest on Messi's Fitness Status

Monday, Jan. 18

"Medical tests on Messi have revealed great news. It turns out that the Argentinian has not got a hamstring injury and has just taken a bit of a knock," Barcelona announced.

Messi's Influence Irreplaceable

Messi had already had injury problems this season, having torn his internal collateral ligament earlier in the campaign. The Argentina captain also suffered with renal colic at the 2015 FIFA Club World Cup in December.

It goes without saying just how significant an influence Messi is on this Barcelona team. Typically deployed on the right flank, his ability to float infield and make telling contributions in the final third is unparalleled anywhere in the modern game and, arguably, in the history of football.

However, with Messi already missing for spells of the 2015-16 season, Barca have shown they are now better equipped to get by without their talisman than they have been in previous years.

During the spell between September and November when Messi was injured, his fellow attackers Neymar and Luis Suarez both thrived with added responsibility on their shoulders.

Nevertheless, while Barcelona remain a formidable outfit without Messi, with him, the side is almost impossible to stop on the attack.