Lionel Messi was forced to sit out of Argentina’s friendly against Italy with an injury last week, and Barcelona forward Luis Suarez is reportedly concerned.
Given that the 30-year-old has been hugely influential yet again this season, with 35 goals and 16 assists in 43 appearances in all competitions, it’s no surprise that Barcelona want, and need, him fit for the rest of the campaign.
The Catalan giants are still on course for the La Liga title, Copa del Rey and Champions League, but with the business end of the year now in full swing, the last thing they need is for their talismanic leader to be sidelined with an injury.
From Messi’s perspective, he’ll also be thinking about the World Cup this summer, as Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli will be relying heavily on him to lead his side too.
As a result, according to Don Balon, as re-reported by The Express, Suarez has expressed his concern with the situation and warned the club that they need to manage Messi between now and the end of the season to ensure that he doesn’t miss any crucial games.
Given that they have an 11-point lead over nearest rivals Atletico Madrid in the La Liga table, perhaps the most sensible option would be to reduce his workload significantly in the league.
Messi and Barcelona will want to be at full strength for the Copa del Rey final against Sevilla next month, while the Champions League is still only at the quarter-final stage where they face Roma.
There’s also one more El Clasico to be played this season in May, and so there will undoubtedly be a few anxious faces at Barcelona in the coming weeks in the hope that Messi doesn’t suffer a major setback.