Javier Mascherano expects Lionel Messi to return for Barcelona’s Club World Cup final against River Plate on Sunday, or at least try his best to be fit.
Messi missed the semi-final win over Guangzhou Evergrande with renal colic but his fellow Argentine believes he’ll shake off the malady in time for the weekend.
“I’ve spoken to him and he’s better. He wanted to play but the pain was unbearable,” Mascherano revealed, AS reports.
“I think he’ll be there on Sunday. He’ll make every effort to play the final.”
Mascherano will play his first club in the showpiece in Yokohama and insists emotions won’t get the better of him.
“There’s no conflict. I have no problem playing against River,” he continued.
“I knew it was likely we’d play against River for some time, it’s part of football, and I will compete for my club, which is Barcelona.
“It’s true River is where I was formed but I’m defending the badge of Barca, which is also part of my life because I’ve been here six years.
“And both myself and the team want the historic achievement of winning the Club World Cup.
“The final will be difficult because River have won a lot lately and are a competitive team, used to playing finals. I hope we’re ready for the game, because the final is a prize of the previous year.
“Hopefully Messi and Neymar will be there because they are two of the three best in the world but if they’re not, we’ve shown with the system and the guys who came in that we can do really well.”