However, he seemed far from the ultra-fit player he promised fans would see in Qatar. The 35-year-old insisted he felt the fittest he has been for a while after an improved half-season in Ligue 1.
Messi told journalists ahead of the tournament: “I am feeling very well, I am very well. I think that I come here in great form both personally and physically. I have no issues whatsoever.
“I heard there were rumours about having to miss part of training, no, it’s just precautions. Nothing strange or out of the ordinary.
“We’re in the middle of the season and I feel well. Once we start playing a few more games, we will get pace and I have been playing recently. That’s what I’ve been trying to do recently up until the World Cup. I haven’t done anything different, I just took care of myself.”
Argentina ideally need wins from matches against Poland and Mexico to qualify for the first knockout round.