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Messi, Mario to miss prestige friendly

sports Updated: Aug 13, 2013 23:52 IST

AFP
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World Player of the Year Lionel Messi and Italian star Mario Balotelli have both been ruled out of the prestige friendly between Argentina and Italy on Wednesday after pulling out injured.

Messi’s club Barcelona confirmed on Tuesday that the 25-year-old is suffering with a strain in his left leg while Balotelli’s problem looks more serious after picking up a knee problem that could deprive him a place for AC Milan’s crunch Champions League qualifier against PSV Eindhoven on August 20.

The former Manchester City striker was training with the Italian team during a visit from Pope Francis close to the Vatican when he broke down. The 76-year-old pontiff who hails from Buenos Aires but is the son of Italian parents is scheduled to attend the match at Olympic stadium in Rome. “Leo Messi will not play the friendly in Rome this Wednesday between Argentina and Italy,” read a statement.