Lionel Messi Injury: Argentina Star to Miss World Cup Qualifier vs. Venezuela

James DudkoFeatured Columnist

Barcelona's Lionel Messi reacts after missing a chance to score during a Champions League quarter-final, first leg soccer match between FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday April 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press

Lionel Messi will miss Argentina's 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Venezuela on Tuesday after picking up a groin injury.

"He won't be able to play," Argentina manager Edgardo Bauza said, per BBC Sport. "We can't take any risks. We must take care of him."

As reported by Reuters on Friday, Messi said it's not yet certain whether he'll sit out the contest: "My groin is hurting a lot, from before this match. We’ll see, I always want to be (in the team)...but there are also a lot of important matches coming up."

With Paulo Dybala of Juventus picking up a red card in Thursday's 1-0 win over Uruguay, Argentina will have to look elsewhere to find some goals. Neither Gonzalo Higuain of Juventus nor Manchester City's Sergio Aguero has been called up.

Argentina will have to adapt without Messi.
Argentina will have to adapt without Messi.Nicolas Aguilera/Associated Press

As for Barcelona, the reigning LaLiga champions are fortunate enough to have Brazilian sensation Neymar and the mercurial Luis Suarez in their ranks, and the two should be able to fill the void should Messi miss any time.

There aren't many who can even come close to matching his flair for both scoring and creating goals. Yet if there's one concern about the multiple Ballon d'Or winner, it's that his injury problems are becoming slightly more frequent as his decorated career progresses.

Ligament damage kept Messi out for close to two months during the 2015/16 season:

He was also forced to withdraw from the FIFA Club World Cup last December due to renal colic. A back injury then slowed Messi before the Copa America Centenario.

That's a fairly hefty catalogue of ailments for one season, even if Messi still produces when he's fit. Despite the stop-and-go nature of his last season, the 29-year-old still helped himself to the LaLiga title, scoring 26 goals in the process, per WhoScored.com.

Messi is always tough to replace, but Barca and Argentina at least got a little used to that reality last season. For the Blaugrana, it will mean funnelling their play more through Suarez, a process that helped the Uruguayan win the Golden Shoe as Europe's top goalscorer last season.

The onus will once again be on Suarez to carry the club if Messi misses game time for Barcelona.