Reports of a rift between Barcelona and Lionel Messi have been rubbished by the player’s management team after rumours of a dispute regarding his reoccurring hamstring injury emerged earlier this week.
The four-time Ballon D’or winner has been ruled out for between 6-8 weeks after suffering the blow during Barcelona’s 4-1 victory over Real Betis last weekend – the third time he has injured his hamstring this season.
The La Liga champions have assigned Argentinian doctor Luis Garcia to aid Messi’s recovery, even though he is not on the books at the Catalan club. The appointment has sparked suggestions that the 26-year-old is unhappy with the club’s medical staff, with physiotherapist Juanjo Brau being singled out as the particular man in question.
However, Barcelona’s sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has spoken to deny any dispute and has confirmed that Garcia is “very well known to our medical staff”. Messi’s management team has also dismissed the speculation, insisting that both the club’s medical staff and Garcia will work together to make sure Messi recovers properly to avoid further injury.
“The process of recovery from the injury suffered last Sunday began on Monday,” Leo messi Management announced. “This injury, although of the same type and to the same leg, is not related to any previous ones.
“Being a player of the Asociacion de Futbol Argentino (AFA), and having games programmed with the national team, the licensed kinesiologist Dr Luis Garcia arrived yesterday in Barcelona to represent the national team, to monitor the injury, and to know the state and scope of the same.
“Barca's medical services, as always, are those who take charge of accompanying him and treating him, like any other player at the club in other occasions.
“So they will be supervising his injury during the whole process, including when Leo travels to Argentina during the Christmas period.
“We want to deny completely the information published in some media, and confirm the comments of different club figures.
“Juanjo Brau, a great professional who has been close to Messi for a long period of time in recent years, no longer works day-to-day with Leo because FC Barcelona promoted him professionally.
“His current responsibilities are coordinating the club's first team squad physios.
“There have been no professional or personal differences, nor a distancing outside of not being as close during their daily work.”
Barcelona will not be too concerned with Messi’s injury, having already qualified from their Champions League group although a tricky run of playing the fourth, fifth and sixth placed sides in the league in the form of Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao and Getafe follows before the winter break.