Lionel Messi was once again absent from Argentina’s training session on Thursday ahead of the World Cup final against France on Sunday.
It is understood that Messi has been operating at below 100% all winter – making his return of five goals and three assists even more impressive – but he had hearts in mouths during the semi-final win over Croatia when he was seen grasping at his hamstring.
Messi still played the full 90 minutes and, once again, was a dominant force, but he was not present for the team’s opening training session on Thursday.
As noted by Ole, the media were permitted to observe 15 minutes of La Albiceleste’s session and there was no sign of Messi during that time, although whether he returned to training once the cameras were away is unclear.
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It is believed that Messi was working in the gym, alongside Rodrigo de Paul and Emiliano Martinez, missing a session in which former striker Sergio Aguero donned his boots and joined in for a light exercise.
Aguero was forced into retirement following the discovery of a heart condition in late 2021 but has been among Lionel Scaloni’s backroom team in Qatar, and he took the chance to get involved on Thursday.
As for Messi, there is not believed to be any real concern about his involvement in the final, with Argentina’s medical staff regularly pulling the veteran forward from sessions to manage his load during what has been a hectic World Cup tournament.