Argentina are worried Lionel Messi will not be fit for the World Cup with “muscular problems” dogging the Barcelona star’s fitness.
The 2014 finalists are going into the tournament as one of the favourites with the biggest prize in world football eluding the superstar so far in his career.
It will be Messi’s fourth World Cup and they were knocked out by Germany in the past three tournaments.
According to La Gazzetta, the first problems with his fitness came about during Barcelona’s Champions League tie with Chelsea, before he sat out Argentina’s friendlies against Italy and Spain.
He then came back into the club fold and played against Sevilla and the incredible European defeat to Roma.
But there are concerns he has been carrying himself through the club season and needs time out.
Reports in Argentina point to Messi’s poor performance against Roma was evidence of his under-par fitness, while Barca failed to turn up at the Stadio Olimpico and were beaten 3-0 in the second leg.
Jorge Sampaoli’s talented squad head into the tournament this summer in Russia with big question marks against their reputation.
They were battered 6-1 by Spain last month, while Messi remained in the stands before storming out at the Wanda Metropolitano.
He was reported to have a hamstring issue at the time, and has failed to play a single minute for the Albiceleste.
Barcelona are one result away from winning La Liga, with the club 12 points ahead of Atletico Madrid with five games left.