Messi misses Barcelona training after decision to stay

BARCELONA (AFP) – Lionel Messi was a no-show at training with Barcelona yesterday despite his decision to stay at the club under sufferance, AFP reporters at the training ground said.

The Argentine superstar announced he had been forced to remain at Barcelona, claiming after club president Josep Maria Bartomeu broke his word to let him leave.

It came after 10 days of tension since his bombshell fax telling Barcelona he wanted out. But while other players including Jordi Alba and Philippe Coutinho arrived for the session, Messi failed to appear at the Joan Gamper training complex for the session.

Last Sunday Messi deliberately skipped the mandatory coronavirus test for Barcelona players.

According to local media, Messi must first pass the COVID-19 test with a return to the squad possibly tomorrow.

He could then figure in new coach Ronald Koeman’s first fixture, a friendly against third division Nastic on September 12.

Barcelona’s Argentine forward Lionel Messi. PHOTO: AFP