Messi passed fit for Argentina duty
Barcelona have cleared Lionel Messi to play in Argentina's clash with Colombia on Friday following his recovery from a hamstring injury.
The 25-year-old has not played since helping the Catalan club clinch the La Liga title with a 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid on May 12. However, Barcelona have now revealed the attacker will be available to feature for his country when their FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign resumes in Buenos Aires.
"The club’s medical services officially passed Leo Messi fit to play this Friday after his recovery from a hamstring injury on May 12 against Atletico Madrid. The Argentine had suffered a similar injury in Paris in early April, but is now fit to play for Argentina," a statement read.
However, Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella has admitted his side - who currently lead the CONMEBOL qualifying group - could find their next two fixtures difficult if Messi is still struggling.
"I think that these two games are very difficult. Colombia have grown in recent years and Ecuador are very good too," he said.
"That's why they are the teams challenging us in the table and it will be a real test for us especially if Lionel will not play. So these are two tough games and will be a good challenge."
Messi has scored 32 goals in 79 appearances for his country since making his international debut in 2005, and will be looking to add to the 60 strikes he has notched so far this season should he feature against Colombia and Ecuador.
Barcelona received less positive injury news on Friday when young winger Isaac Cuenca was ruled out for between three and four months.
The 22-year-old, who spent the latter half of last season on loan with Ajax, has undergone knee surgery and will miss the start of the 2012-13 campaign as a result.