Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


No guarantee Messi will be fit for January - Martino

05 December 2013, 19:07

Madrid - Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino has said he can't guarantee that World Player of the Year Lionel Messi will be fit to feature when his side return to action after the Spanish winter break in January.

Messi was ruled out for the rest of the year after tearing his hamstring last month and in his absence Barca have suffered two consecutive defeats for the first time since March.

The Catalans' unbeaten start to their La Liga campaign was ended by a 1-0 defeat to Athletic Bilbao last weekend just five days after Martino had tasted defeat for the first time as Barca boss in a 2-1 reverse away to Ajax.

Messi is currently back in Argentina continuing his recovery and is expected to return to Barcelona at the beginning of January.

However, Martino refused to confirm that his compatriot would definitely be fit for a return to action at the start of 2014 with Barca set to visit joint La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid on January 12.

"He is working as planned, completing the different stages of his recovery. We hope that he will be ready at the start of January, but the closer we get to the date we will see if he needs more time," said the coach.

"We cannot guarantee when he will be ready, what interests us more is that he has completely recovered."

Despite still leading La Liga, and having already qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League, Martino and his players have come in for some severe criticism from local media due to their back-to-back defeats.

However, he is hoping that the critics will force a response from his players when they travel to face third-tier Cartagena in the first-leg of their Copa del Rey tie on Friday.

"There are two options; that the pessimism harms us or makes us even stronger.

"We are full of optimism. We need to transform that into the matches. We need to show that we are going to fight and there is a reason why we are top of the league and in the Champions League last 16.

"I don't want to say that we are not worried by losing two games, but we are not loaded by pessimism."

Martino has received a boost on the injury front as left-back Jordi Alba is fit enough to be included in the squad for the Cartagena match for the first time in nearly three months.

Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta will not travel to Murcia due to calf and hamstring niggles respectively.

Gerard Pique has also been rested, but Carles Puyol returns after missing the defeat in Bilbao due to a knee problem.




Mathieu adds to Barca injury problems

26 October 2016, 20:17

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...