Argentina are worried Lionel Messi will not be fit for the World Cup with “muscular problems” dogging the Barcelona star.
The 2014 finalists are going into the tournament as one of the favourites with arguably the greatest player of his generation looking to get his hands on the trophy for the first time.
It will be Messi’s fourth World Cup, having been 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, and he was then forced to sit out Argentina’s friendlies against Italy and Spain.
He 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 in the shock 3-0 second leg defeat against Roma as evidence of his under-par fitness.
Jorge Sampaoli’s talented squad head into the tournament this summer in Russia with big doubts about their ability to mount a realistic challenge.
They were battered 6-1 by Spain last month, while Messi remained in the stands before storming out at the Wanda Metropolitano inMadrid.
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.