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Time for Barcelona to wrap Lionel Messi up in cotton wool

The champions must not rush him back

Barcelona V Real Sociedad Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

It’s blindingly obvious to all and sundry that Leo Messi has got a niggle, and one that only rest and recuperation is going to cure in a timely fashion.

He’s unlikely to be the last to pick up a little strain here or there in the final few weeks of the 2019/20 season either.

A mini pre-season of training to try and get players back up to full tilt in double-quick time was always going to end in tears for one or two players, just a shame for the Blaugranes that it had to be Messi.

With only 11 games left of the domestic campaign and two points separating the table-toppers from Real Madrid, it’s going to be all hands on deck between now and mid-July.

The quick turnarounds aren’t helpful either, but needs must. Every team is facing the same scenario so we shouldn’t bleat.

The one thing Barca must ensure is that Messi isn’t rushed back even if it means that he misses a large portion of the forthcoming fixtures.

He’s of little use to the team if he’s not fully fit - as we saw at the beginning of the campaign - but he has been pressured into returning quicker than the specialists advise in the past, and it’s rarely worked out well for the Argentinian marksman.

With the greatest of respect, to both Mallorca and Leganes, this is probably the best time that Messi could’ve picked up a knock.

Although both sides need the points to stay up and may put up more of a fight than expected, they should still be cannon fodder for a Barca side that are dreaming of yet another La Liga title.

In Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann and, one would suspect, Ansu Fati or Martin Braithwaite, Barca’s front line looks healthy enough.

When fit and able, Leo will be given his place back for the final sprint, but not before. With the Champions League still a viable option for the club too, everyone has a part to play across this portion of the season.

If taking a step back now allows the No.10 to return in a fortnight or so, then Barca will surely be counting their lucky stars.

He is their guiding light, their captain and the one that makes it all happen, but Messi is still only human.

Short-term pain, which might mean wrapping him in cotton wool for a few weeks, is needed for long-term gain.

Messidependence might be real, but it’s time to allow Leo to heal naturally.

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