23rd March, 2019
It was supposed to be a joyous occasion for the fans in Argentina as their beloved captain, Lionel Messi returned to action for the team after a long lay-off. It was however not to be, as the mercurial striker ended up getting injured in that game.
To make matters worse, Argentina lost the match 1-3 against the visiting team, Venezuela. It was surely a night to forget for the home fans.
Messi has now been ruled out of Argentina’s friendly against Morocco on Tuesday after suffering a groin injury in the 3-1 loss to Venezuela.
Even though the Barcelona forward managed to play the full 90 minutes on Friday night, the Argentine federation has confirmed after the game that he will leave the squad as they prepare for their clash with the African side next week.
Asidr from Messi, Atlanta United midfielder Gonzalo Martínez has also been ruled out for Tuesday’s game after sustaining a muscular injury in his left thigh.
In the game itself, Argentina went 2-0 down in the first half after goals from Newcastle striker Salomon Rondon and former Benfica man Jhon Murillo gave Venezuela a commanding lead at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid.
In the 59th minute, Lautaro Martinez pulled one back for Argentina but Josef Martinez put the game beyond them with a penalty 16 minutes later.
This was not the first time Messi has suffered from a groin problem, with the Argentine having missed time in 2016 and 2017 due to a similar injury.
This news of Messi’s injury will be particularly worrying for Barcelona, with the 31-year-old in the middle of yet another brilliant campaign as he has netted 39 goals in 36 games in all competitions for the Blaugrana, who are still alive in their chase for a treble this season.
Barcelona has a commanding lead atop La Liga, sitting 10 points ahead of Atletico Madrid and 12 points in front of third-place Real Madrid.
Barca dispatched Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey semi-final and have advanced to the final of the cup competition, where they will face Valencia on May 25.
It is also a fact that Barcelona have also advanced to the Champions League quarter-final, where a mouth-watering match-up with Manchester United awaits.
Barcelona have a week before their next match, a Liga encounter with Espanyol at Camp Nou after which there will be another two games between that match and the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final, which takes place on April 10 at Old Trafford.
As the situation stands presently with Messi potentially out, the scoring onus will surely fall even more on forward Luis Suarez, who has netted 21 goals in 38 games in all competitions this season.