"Leo Messi will not play the friendly in Rome this Wednesday between Argentina and Italy," said a statement on the club's website.

"After undergoing a check-up with the Argentine medical staff it has been decided that the star will return to Barcelona to continue his recovery from a quadriceps strain in his left leg," the statement added.

The 25-year-old missed the final match of Barca's Asian tour against Malaysia on Saturday due to the injury. Italian star Mario Balotelli will also miss the friendly due to a knee injury, which may also rule him out of AC Milan's Champions League qualifier against PSV Eindhoven August 20.


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