Barcelona have announced that Lionel Messi is carrying an injury and is not available for their final match of 2020.
The club announced via its social channels on Sunday that the Argentine will not play in the clash with Eibar after he missed training.
Barca initially announced that he was being given extra days off prior to the Liga clash on December 29. However, they have now moved to further clarify the situation and revealed his break has been granted in order to overcome a physical ailment.
In a statement published on the club’s official website, Barcelona said: “First-team player Lionel Messi is completing the treatment for his right ankle, and is expected to return to training after the SD Eibar match.”
This means he should be fit to face Huesca on January 3.
The Barcelona squad had been given four days off after overcoming Real Valladolid 3-0 away from home on December 22. Clement Lenglet and Martin Braithwaite had been on target in that encounter before Messi rounded the scoring off by netting midway through the second half.
It was just Barcelona’s seventh league victory of the season after 14 matches, and propelled them to fifth in the standings, a distant eight points behind leaders Atletico Madrid who also have a game in hand over them.
If Messi’s short-term future has been clarified, there remain significant doubts over where he will be at the start of next season.
His contract at Camp Nou will expire at the end of June, and with the Catalans in urgent need of reducing their wage bill, there has been speculation that he could move to Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain.
The Barcelona presidential election, which will take place towards the end of January, is likely to be important in terms of determining his destiny, with Barca eager to keep hold of a player who has enjoyed era-defining success at the club.
Messi is presently enduring a tougher campaign, however. In 18 matches across all competitions this term, he has scored 10 goals and five assists – a fine return for most players but modest by the six-time Ballon d’Or winner’s usual standards.