Four-time FIFA Ballon d'Or winner 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 Barça's 2-1 win over Las Palmas on 26 September 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 Barça face Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on 21 November.
However, it is a race against time if he is to be included for Argentina's FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers at home to Brazil on 13 November or away to Colombia four days later.
The inspired 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 UEFA 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.