Lionel Messi injury: Argentina star shares fitness update ahead of World Cup opener against Saudi Arabia in Qatar

Lionel Messi injury: Argentina star shares fitness update ahead of World Cup opener against Saudi Arabia in Qatar

Lionel Messi has stressed that he is in “good condition” despite sitting out from a training session just days out from Argentina’s World Cup opener against Saudi Arabia in Qatar.

All eyes were on the 35-year-old during preparations for Tuesday’s group stage opener against the Saudis as he arrived in Qatar with an Achilles niggle.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: England star keeps promise with goal celebration.

Watch the latest sport on Channel 7 or stream for free on 7plus >>

The injury forced him to sit out of a club game before traveling to the Middle East, and worries were growing about his fitness ahead of his country’s first game.

But speaking at Monday’s (Tuesday morning AEDT) pre-match press conference, the skipper put doubts about his fitness to bed.

“I’m feeling very well, I’m very well physically, good condition,” the Paris St Germain forward said.

“I think I came here in really good shape both personally and physically. I have no issues whatsoever.

“I heard there were rumors about having to miss part of the training, or training apart from the team because of a blow – no, it was just precautions, nothing strange or out of the ordinary.”

At his fifth World Cup, the veteran is as well versed as anyone in preparing for the world’s biggest sporting event, but he told reporters he hasn’t done anything different ahead of what might be his last one.

Lionel Messi says he is fit to play against Saudi Arabia. Credit: AAP

“Well. It’s a different period within the season, we haven’t played that many games yet and I feel well. I just took care of myself,” he said.

“I am aware that this is a very special moment – it is most likely my last World Cup, the last opportunity to make my dream, our dream, a reality. But other than that, nothing special.”

The closest Messi has come to World Cup success was in 2014 when Argentina finished runners-up to Germany.

He said he is more mature now, he knows it could be his last World Cup.

“I think I’m really enjoying it much more now,” he said.

“Before maybe I didn’t think about that, I just wanted to play. But now I’m trying to enjoy it.

“I’m always excited, I always want more, and I always want to try again to win this competition. We don’t have to think about the past. We have to try again and hopefully we can do it.”

Lionel Messi at Argentina training. Credit: Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Coming off fresh silverware at the Copa America last year, Argentina enters the World Cup with a 36-game unbeaten run, which has them as one of the favorites to be champions.

But coach Lionel Scaloni said there were up to at least 10 teams who could hold up the trophy.

Argentina entered the competition on a 36-game unbeaten run and very much among the teams being talked about as potential champions.

Which makes the task for Saudi Arabia – the second lowest ranked team in the draw – rank outsiders. Coach Herve Renard says he knows what his side is up against, but they’ve come to win.

Lionel Messi is playing at his fifth World Cup. Credit: Jorge Saenz/AP

“We are competitors, we haven’t come to this World Cup just for a joke. We’ve come here to be the best we can,” he said.

“We know our level, but we believe in ourselves. We know exactly who we play against, but we start the game 11 against 11.

“We have to be ready tomorrow, this is the most important thing. We are not coming to see Doha. It’s a beautiful city. We are not far from this city, we know Qatar perfectly.

“To be honest with you, even if some people are not of the same opinion, we like this country, so we are very happy to be here, and now enjoy football.

“We’re considered as being the underdog, people don’t think we’ll get to the next round, but we’re here to maybe pull that prognosis apart. There are always surprises when it comes to a World Cup, and I’m hoping we’ll be part of those pleasant surprises.”

If you would like to view this content, please adjust yours .

To find out more about how we use cookies, please see our Cookie Guide.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

A note to our visitors

This website has updated its privacy policy in compliance with changes to European Union data protection law, for all members globally. We’ve also updated our Privacy Policy to give you more information about your rights and responsibilities with respect to your privacy and personal information. Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our updated privacy policy.

%d bloggers like this: