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Ronaldo, Bale set to return

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Lionel Messi to recover in Argentina

Lionel Messi is to travel to Argentina on Friday to continue his recovery from his current thigh muscles issues.

Golden Boot winner Lionel Messi hopes to return to action in early January.
Golden Boot winner Lionel Messi hopes to return to action in early January.

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Messi picked up his fifth similar injury in less than six months during a La Liga game at Real Betis on Nov. 10, and the club said that subsequent tests found a tear that would keep him out for six to eight weeks.

It was always expected that the Argentina international, 26, would spend part of his recovery in Buenos Aires, helping him also to recover mentally from what has been a tough run of fitness issues.

Further details on the recuperation timetable were released via a statement on the club’s official website on Thursday morning.

“Having finished the first phase of his recovery, the player Leo Messi will travel tomorrow to Argentina, as had been foreseen, to begin the second phase under the supervision of the club's medical services,” the statement read. “Doctor Ricard Pruna and physical preparation specialist Elvio Paulorroso will travel to Argentina in the middle of December to supervise the final stage of the recovery.

“His progress is positive, as has been shown in the latest tests carried out.”

The mention of Barca’s staff overseeing the recovery process is significant due to press reports that Messi and his camp had been unhappy with the support provided by the Catalan club’s medical staff in recent months.

Argentine kinesiologist Luis Garcia flew to Barcelona earlier this month to work with the player day to day, and was met at the airport by Messi’s father, Jorge, which further fuelled the rumours.

The player himself and Blaugrana sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta have since dismissed these reports as “media inventions.”

Barca’s latest statement does not give any indication of when Messi is expected to return to action, but the forward said while picking up the 2012-13 European Golden Boot last week that he hoped he might be back to play at home to Elche on Jan. 5, which is Barca’s first game after the winter break.

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