MADRID, Spain, February 2 – Four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi missed training on Monday due to “personal reasons”, Barcelona have confirmed.
“Messi hasn’t trained today, with the permission of the club, due to personal reasons,” Barca said in a statement.
The Argentine continued his fine form with the winning goal as Barca came from behind twice to beat Villarreal 3-2 on Sunday.
Yet, it is just over a month since Messi missed another training session in front of the club’s fans, claiming to be suffering from gastroenteritis, a day after he had been left on the bench for Barca’s 1-0 defeat at Real Sociedad.
His absence on that occasion sparked a mini-crisis at the club as speculation grew over coach Luis Enrique’s future due to his frosty relationship with his star player.
However, since then Barca have strung together eight straight victories to move into the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey and remain just a point adrift of La Liga leaders Real Madrid.
Barca aren’t in action again until Sunday when they travel to face Athletic Bilbao, so Enrique has given all of his squad Tuesday and Wednesday off ahead of a return to training on Thursday.