Jorge Sampaoli’s men ran out comfortable victors at the Etihad stadium in Manchester with Ever Banega and Manuel Lanzini getting their names on the score-sheet.
Messi though, could only watch from the sidelines as he nursed the injury he has been now carrying for some time according to his own words.
“I have been suffering from this hamstring injury for some time,” Messi told TyC Sports before the game.
“I always want to play, but the road to the World Cup is still long. We decided to wait for this game (against Italy) to rest but I’m optimistic about playing against Spain.” the Barcelona maestro added.
Sampaoli himself had added that Messi was on course to play against Italy before the latest setback.
“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,” he said at the post-match press conference.
Following their 1-1 draw against defending world champions Germany on Friday, Spain are set to take on Argentina in another friendly on Tuesday.
Messi has been having another highly productive season with Barcelona who remain on course for three trophies including the La Liga title.
The Blaugrana magician has scored 35 goals in all competitions this season so far despite carrying the hamstring injury for the past few weeks.
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