Madrid: Four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi has insisted he won't rush his recovery from knee ligament damage despite upcoming clashes with Brazil and Real Madrid for Argentina and Barcelona respectively.
Messi suffered a torn internal collateral ligament in his left knee during Barca's 2-1 win over Las Palmas on September 26 that was expected to keep him out of action for up to eight weeks. A return to fitness within that timeframe would allow him to feature when Barca face Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on November 21.
However, it is a race against time if he is to be included for Argentina's World Cup qualifiers at home to Brazil on November 13 or away to Colombia four days later. "Being injured is the worst feeling in the world for a sportsman, but right from the start I accepted that I had an injury and that the only thing to do was to recover from it the best way possible," Messi told Yahoo Sports on Thursday.
"The most important thing for me is to be at 100 percent fitness. "I am improving every day without setting myself any targets. I have always said that I don't set myself any dates because it isn't up to me. As much as I would like to play tomorrow, the doctors wouldn't let me. "When they tell me that I have recovered completely will be the time that I will make my return onto the pitch."
The inspired of form of Neymar has allowed Barcelona to negotiate most of the obstacles presented since Messi went out as, despite a 2-1 defeat to Sevilla, they remain joint top of La Liga and well on course to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League. However, Argentina missed their star man badly as they took just one point from their opening two games of World Cup qualifying, losing 2-0 at home to Ecuador before a 0-0 draw at to Paraguay earlier this month.