August 5, 2019 / 11:03 AM / 3 months ago

Barcelona skipper Messi out of U.S. tour with calf strain

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Joan Gamper Trophy - Barcelona v Arsenal - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - August 4, 2019 Barcelona's Lionel Messi REUTERS/Albert Gea

(Reuters) - Barcelona skipper Lionel Messi will not travel to the United States for the club’s pre-season tour after sustaining a calf problem on his return to training from a close season break, the La Liga champions said on Monday.

The Argentine forward experienced discomfort in his right leg during Monday’s training session and tests confirmed that the 32-year-old had suffered a grade one calf strain, forcing him out of the tour.

"Messi will remain in Barcelona... his availability to come back to action will be dictated by his recovery," Barcelona said in a statement here on their website.

Barcelona are set to travel to the U.S. later on Monday, with two friendly matches scheduled against Italian Serie A side Napoli on Aug. 7 (Miami) and 10 (Michigan).

Messi was banned from international duty for three months and fined $50,000 after leveling accusations of “corruption” at South American soccer chiefs during last month’s Copa America.

He was sent off against Chile in the third-place playoff and later alleged that the tournament had been fixed in favor of hosts Brazil, who defeated Argentina in the semi-final on their way to the title.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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