In theory, the Barça star could be ready for November’s internationals, but neither he, nor his club or his country, want to see him rush himself back to feature for Argentina against Brazil and Colombia.
Lionel Messi will adapt his calendar to keep in line with Barcelona’s in terms of his recovery from a knee injury. It’s not that the Argentina star doesn’t have his national team on his mind, but the number one objective it to return to fitness without forcing things. So far, things are going well. If Messi forces his recuperation, he could appear on the pitch again inside six weeks. But the medical report after the Las Palmas game said Luis Enrique would have him back within seven to eight weeks.
The explanation is found in the World Cup qualifiers that Argentina has planned in November against Brazil and Colombia. It could be a risk for the Barça forward to travel to South America on these dates to take part in these matches.
Gerardo Martino, the manager of the Argentina side, already showed in the last international break that both the Albiceleste and Barça need to be careful with how much they push Messi. Against Bolivia, he played in the second half, although he played the whole match against Mexico.
And ‘Tata’ Martino is unlikely to force the issue in terms of the games against Brazil (November 13) and Colombia (November 17), even if he has suggested Messi may be back by then. He will also be without Leo for the opening World Cup qualifying matches against Ecuador and Paraguay. In Messi’s absence, Aguero will don the no. 10 jersey.
Argentine superstar’s main objective now definitely is el clasico. For that reason, if the recovery continues on the right path, Messi’s final phase before returning to action will be one or two weeks training with the squad, re-finding his form and re-discovering the good sensations.
In Messi’s absence, Barcelona has looked somewhat disjointed. The reason? Other teams are more confident playing Barcelona knowing its talisman is nowhere to be seen. Since losing Messi, teams have looked far more committed to attacking Blaugrana head on. Just witness how Sevilla attacked with wild abandon, allowing for a wide open counter attacking battle that could have gone either way for both teams. Bayer Leverkusen did the same exact thing in its contact, pressuring Barcelona in the midfield and launching quick strikes.
On the other end of the pitch, Barcelona has countered with five goals in three games; shockingly the team had not been that much better with Messi in the lineup to this point though there are some major ingredients that he brings which have been sorely lacking for Blaugrana.
Leo is the first person who wants to adhere to the guidelines regarding his rehab and he is counting on the advice of both the coaches and the medical teams at both Barcelona and with Argentina. His objective is to be ready for the Clasico against Real Madrid on November 21, which would then allow him to build up ahead of the Club World Cup in Japan in December.