Former Barcelona chief medic Jordi Ardevol has reflected on his belief that Lionel Messi was not allowed to fully recover from injury in the summer.
The Argentine has today been ruled out for six to eight weeks for having torn the femoral biceps of his left leg whilst in action on Sunday evening against Real Betis.
For the club’s former head of medical services, it is a consequence of his thigh injury first picked up during the run-in to last season, when he was in and out of the team afterwards.
“Messi should not return, not until he is 100 per cent recovered,” Ardevol has reflected on Esports Cope today.
“That is what I would do, although it is very easy to say this when you are on the outside.
“However, there are many factors that influence things - the desire to play as soon as possible, the team’s needs, the pressure in the environment both sporting and commercially, with the World Cup in sight.
“There are many things at the club to manage so as to make it very complicated.
“His recovery to full form? You have to put the counter at ‘0’. With a necessary rest period and with a specific training programme required. Start from ‘0’ so as to return to optimal conditions.”
It was put to Ardevol that Messi may have been playing below par in recent games due to the psychological concern of getting injured again.
“After a player is injured, there is a period in which the head stays with the injury and that until the injury is completely recovered and the sensations are normal, you have to disengage the brain from the muscle somehow.
“The thought has to be on playing and there is a period in which the player does not take it out of their head.
“During the holidays, after the injury late last season, I believe that Leo should have had a more specific plan.
“The feeling is that he was never entirely clear, there have been some intermittent periods of activity and mentally the counter was not put back to ‘0’.”
Think you know your Spanish football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!