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Lionel Messi to Miss Argentina Friendly Against Morocco with Groin Injury

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMarch 22, 2019

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 22: Junior Moreno of Venezuela and Lionel Messi of Argentina battle for the ball during the International Friendly match between Argentina and Venezuela at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on March 22, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Argentina forward Lionel Messi will miss his country's friendly with Morocco on Tuesday after picking up a groin injury.

As relayed by Goal's Daniel Edwards, the team's Twitter account confirmed Messi suffered the issue during the clash with Venezuela on Friday:

Daniel Edwards 💚 @DanEdwardsGoal

In perhaps the least surprising news of the night (apart from how bad the defence was because, well, Argentina) Lionel Messi has been ruled out of the game against Morocco with an injury that almost certainly won't rule him out of any Barcelona games. https://t.co/Cu5m4VK0PG

It was Messi's first match for the national team since the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Despite having the Barcelona star available again, the Albiceleste slumped to a shock 3-1 loss.

The 31-year-old has had good fortune with injuries during his career and has played at least 49 matches in all but one of his past 10 seasons—he played only 46 matches in 2013-14, per Transfermarkt.

Barcelona have stormed to La Liga's summit with Messi leading their line, and he leads the league's scoring charts with 29 goals in 26 appearances. His record on the season sits at 39 goals and 18 assists in 37 appearances in the league and UEFA Champions League.

A fracture to the radial bone in his right arm sidelined Messi for three weeks earlier this season. The club nevertheless went unbeaten in the five matches played without their talisman, winning four and drawing against Inter Milan in their Champions League group.

Ousmane Dembele may switch back to the right wing and Philippe Coutinho could get pushed into an advanced wide-left role during Messi's absence.

Barcelona face local rivals Espanyol after this weekend's international break, and Blaugrana boss Ernesto Valverde will be hopeful the forward is back at full fitness for that encounter.