Messi handed fitness boost

Argentina have confirmed that Lionel Messi is “better” after making progress in his recovery from rib and back injuries.

Messi pulled up with blows to his lower back and left ribcage in Argentina’s 1-0 defeat to Honduras on Friday, prompting fears he may miss the start of Copa America, but one of his national team’s doctors has eased them.

“Messi is better, with less pain than last night,” Daniel Martinez told La Nacion.

“His recovery is day-to-day, and there are several treatments for these types of injuries.”

La Albiceleste will begin their preparations in Santa Clara this weekend without Messi, who must also return to Barcelona for the start of his tax-fraud trial, before kicking off their campaign against Chile on June 7.

Tags Argentina Copa America injury Lionel Messi