Lionel Messi has been suffering “for some time” with the hamstring problem that forced him to miss Argentina’s 2-0 victory over Italy on Friday.
Messi was reduced to the role of spectator at the Etihad Stadium, where goals from Ever Banega and Manuel Lanzini ensured the win for Jorge Sampaoli’s men.
The Barcelona superstar has been in typically free-scoring form for the Blaugrana, finding the net eight times in his last six games, with his tally for the season up to 35.
And that run looks even more impressive following Messi’s admission of his injury problems, though he is hopeful of being fit to face Spain on Tuesday.
Head coach Jorge Sampaoli added in his post-game media conference: “We had planned the game with Leo Messi in the starting line-up, but he had an injury and we preferred him not to take part.”