International Friendly: Catalonia vs. Argentina

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The Argentina national football team is at Camp Nou to face Catalonia (Catalunya) in tonight’s international friendly.

This is Lionel Messi’s first match after receiving his FIFA World Player of the Year award in Zurich, Switzerland. He won three times as many votes as second-placed Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Barca star was the top scorer in last season’s Champions League with nine goals, one of which was his superb header in the 2-0 win over the Red Devils in the final.

Earlier this month, Messi was awarded the Ballon d’Or for the European Player of the Year, winning the trophy by the biggest percentage of votes since it was created in 1956.

While this match may not have any major importance, it presents the 22-year-old Argentine forward with a great opportunity to build confidence with his national team which is very much in need of his best form.

UPDATE: According to Spanish sports daily newspaper Sport, Messi will not play in today’s friendly between Catalonia and Argentina.

Messi, who has still not completely recovered from his ankle sprain, met with Diego Maradona and Barca physical therapist Juanjo Brau and made the assessment to not risk him in tonight’s encounter against La Seleccio.

UPDATE 2: Real Betis striker Sergio Garcia netted a brace as Catalonia beat an experimental Argentina squad 4-2. The Albicelestes entered the match without their two icons, Messi and coach Diego Maradona.