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Lionel Messi missed the start of Argentina’s training session on Friday – just four days before their opening World Cup match against Saudi Arabia.
Messi is eyeing what is expected to be his last opportunity at winning the World Cup in Qatar. It is the only prize that has eluded the 35-year-old thus far in his storied career.
Fans of the legendary no.10 feared the worst when their captain and talisman did not train with his teammates at the start of Argentina’s session on Friday. Four hundred reporters were understood to have been left disappointed after turning up to watch Messi train.
READ MORE: World Cup star was 'feared dead' after sickening foul broke ribs and knocked out teeth
But the national team have since played down fears of a devastating last minute injury. They revealed the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner didn’t train initially as he was completing a gym session to ensure he is ready in time for Tuesday’s game in Lusail.
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Messi was joined by Rodrigo De Paul, Angel Di Maria, Leandro Paredes and Nicolas Otamendi in the gym. The five-some then linked up with the rest of Lionel Scaloni’s side for the second-half of the session, by which point all of the reporters had left.
It came after Messi picked up a knock in the recent 5-0 win over the UAE, with the team already having lost the likes of Nicolas Gonzalez, Joaquin Correa and Giovani Lo Celso to injury.
Argentina have not won the World Cup since 1986 when Diego Maradona propelled them to glory in Mexico. They came closest to ending their long drought in 2014, where Messi and co. were beaten 1-0 by Germany in the final.
He famously lost three finals in consecutive years, until his barren run was ended with victories in the Copa America and Finalissima in the last 18 months. Argentina are now the bookies’ favourites heading into the competition for Messi’s last hurrah at international level.
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